by: Anne Fairchild

DISCLAIMER: Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and its characters are
copyright Paramount and no infringement is intended.  The story is
copyright Anne Fairchild 1994.

This story was originally published in "A Plain and Simple Zine" several
years ago.  It was written when we didn't know anything about Bashir's
parents (obviously!), and before IPS/BIL.

Garak sighed with relief as he and Julian left Quark's after a
fairly intensive haggling session over - he could scarcely credit it -
*gift paper* for the Terran celebration his young lover was so excited about.

Christmas!  His customers' chatter had been about little but the
holiday for weeks now;  there were days he thought he might go quietly mad
if he so much as heard the word again.

Living among humans on the station as long as he had, the Cardassian had
a passing acquaintance with the occasion and some of its festivities,
although he'd largely managed to avoid taking part in the ritual.  This
year, however, Julian declared that as it was their first Christmas
together, he wanted their celebration to be special.  Garak privately
agreed, but there were limits as to how much 'Christmas cheer' he could

Certainly the holiday had always been good for business, since
clothing was apparently a popular and traditional gift.  Garak's shop was
now open four more hours per station cycle, and would be for almost another
two months.

The additional income was welcome of course, but Garak was somewhat
resentful of the extra time spent away from Bashir.  And it seemed that
when they were together, this 'Christmas' still intervened, as it had this
evening.  Garak, for one, was tired and wanted to go home.

"May I inquire as to whether business is concluded for the evening,

Bashir caught the note of quiet exasperation in the older man's
voice.  Garak had been awfully patient with what must seem to him like a
lot of nonsense.

"Well, let's just say that my public business has been taken care
of.  I had hoped that you and I might still have some private 'business' to
take care of between us tonight," Bashir answered somewhat apologetically,
squeezing Garak's elbow.

"Ah.  I believe that might be arranged.  However - I'm so busy with
all of this extra business - did you have an appointment for a fitting?"
the Cardassian asked dryly.

"I was under the impression that I'd been 'fitted' a long time ago,
Mr. Garak.  As far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed," Bashir purred.

"However - if you could work me in this evening, I'd be grateful,"
Julian continued softly, the sparkle in his honey brown eyes delighting the

The lighthearted banter had restored Garak's energy.

"I'm sorry, doctor, it's very noisy here on the Promenade.  Was
that 'work me in' or 'work in me'?" Garak asked politely.

"Garak!"  Bashir shook his head, laughing aloud.  "This evening,
your choice entirely," he conceded with a grin.

The two men walked a short way up the Promenade to the tailor's
colorful, impressive new shop, open for business only a few months.

During the rebuilding, Julian had suggested including a room above
the shop where the two of them might be alone together when neither felt
like returning to their quarters late in the evening.

The idea had appealed to the former spy, and the 'room' had turned
into a suite of rooms which rivaled Bashir's quarters in size, and were
certainly more appealing than regulation Starfleet issue.  The lovers found
that they spent more time in these rooms than anywhere else.

Alas, if the original purpose of the hideaway had been to obscure
their whereabouts it had failed entirely, since Julian had been called for
late night medical emergencies at Garak's twice this week alone.

As they went up the sharply twisting staircase at the back of the
shop, Bashir noted that his lover moved slowly, head down.  Although he
would never admit it, longer hours spent bending over so many extra
garments were hard on the older man physically.

"You.  Sit," Julian ordered cheerfully, pointing to the overstuffed
sofa as he headed for the cupboard where the liquor was kept.

Garak complied with a smile, holding his hand out gratefully for
the pale green Hith'rar which Bashir had taught him to appreciate.  He held
a mouthful of the spicy liquor for a moment, then let it glide slowly down
his throat, warming and relaxing him.

Julian knelt, motioning for a leg so that he could pull the
Cardassian's boots off.  He noted with satisfaction the quiet sigh of
relief this elicited.  Bashir then rose and went to stand behind Garak,
digging his thumbs into tight shoulders.

"It's been a long day," Julian murmured in the tailor's ear. "Are
you very tired?"

"I do not believe I *very*  tired, doctor," Garak grunted
as Bashir hit a sore spot.  He leaned into Julian's hands with a sigh.

Bashir had learned early on the difference between the touch which
aroused his lover and that which soothed, and he was usually careful to
send the correct message.  Tonight, however, the signals were deliberately
mixed and both men enjoyed the miscues.

"How can you always know so perfectly what I need?" Garak murmured,
allowing his head to fall back against the sofa, his face upturned for the
kiss he hoped to receive.  He was not disappointed.

"Because I want to please you," Julian told him before covering his
lover's mouth hungrily with his own.

Garak pulled Bashir in, the kiss becoming a nearly complete
lovemaking of its own.  Soon they were sharing the couch, their passion
rising in tandem.

"No.  Others have wished to please me, but did not," Garak sighed,
pulling Julian to him, swabbing the faintly bluish pulse point at the base
of the doctor's throat with his tongue.  "They *could * not....please me,
but you - "

Bashir had loosened Garak's collar and was softly nibbling one of
his lover's neck ridges.

"This is different, what is between us," Garak persevered when he
regained his breath.  Kissing Julian was a lesson in sensuality, and he was
a willing student.

"It's simple," Bashir murmured, his tongue tracing one of Garak's
ear tracks, "if you believe in Fate.  We were meant to find each other," he
explained, gnawing the track where it met the tailor's ear.

"We're two halves of a whole that belong together.  Call it it anything you want, Garak.  I only know that my life seemed
very empty before I met you, and now it's....complete.

"And....if we don't proceed with the evening's 'business' soon,"
Bashir continued in a lighter vein, "I'm going to be rather...unhappy."  He
renewed his assault on Garak's mouth as well as launching a new one on the
growing bulge between stocky legs.

"Your happiness is always of concern to me, doctor," Garak gasped
for air, his nimble fingers divesting Julian of the greater portion of his
uniform in short order.

"Glad to hear it.  Now, if you'd just put your money where you
mouth is - "

It took the Cardassian several seconds to decipher the human

"As you wish," he agreed, smiling a smile which raised gooseflesh -
and a grin - in Bashir.

Mouths again attached, Garak ran a hand inside Julian's uniform
over slim, finely muscled buttocks.

Julian started in surprise at the finger which pressed into the
cleft between his cheeks, teasing its way into his body.  He groaned into
his lover's mouth.

"What is that Terran expression - ? 'If you can't stand the heat,
get out of the kitchen'?" Garak asked.  He felt Bashir's sphincter contract
about his finger, with Julian whimpering at the digit's early withdrawal.

"I....didn't expect you to turn the oven on so quickly - but now
that you have, when do we eat?  I'm starved," the doctor gasped.

The two were still laughing as Garak rose from the couch, nudging
Julian to the large, comfortably soft bed in the sleeping area.

After Bashir had removed what remained of his uniform, he undressed
Garak quickly and pulled him down onto the bed and into the 'perfect
circle' which had satisfied lovers for untold millennia.

The knowledge of how this bout of loving would end gave Julian the
patience to attend the older man with complete devotion to the other's
pleasure.  He shuddered at the jolts of oral phaser fire he was receiving
from Garak.  The tailor's mouth was as talented as his hands.

Bashir could easily allow himself to come soon, but his greatest
pleasure was to hold off until Garak was deep within him, vulnerable,
giving of himself in ways that only Julian understood.

*When Garak enters me he presents me with his soul, and he must
know that I cherish his gift.*

"Julian?" the older man rasped, the sound loud in the quiet room.

"Yes," Bashir assured him as Garak reached for the lubricant.
"Definitely, yes."

Julian shivered as his lover's hot, blunt fingers prepared him with
the gel.  Garak had found ways to make this step in their lovemaking
uniquely erotic.  Julian never truly minded the tease, although he
sometimes protested the excessive length of preparation.  Tonight, as he
had promised, things would proceed as Garak wished.

Garak rolled Bashir onto his side and curled behind him, nudging
Julian's left leg up.  Nuzzling the soft, warm neck, one palm stroked over
Bashir's chest and abdomen, and Garak's other hand guided his own cock into
the small opening which welcomed him....home.

*He really is tired.  His back must be bothering hi - oh, yeahhh!*

Being possessed by Garak in this way never failed to move Julian.
Sometimes the feelings were distinct - lust, pure and open;  tenderness,
even protectiveness.  Love.  Sometimes, the emotions were a jumble, any or
all of the feelings welling up in him.  Tonight, he didn't try to separate
or categorize.  His lover felt perfect inside him, and that was all the
analyzing Bashir cared about.

Julian let himself be gently marauded, plundered....looted.  He
couldn't conceive of anything that could change the spell under which Garak
held him in the privacy of the bedroom.  No other lover had been able to
make him feel the way the Cardassian did, and there was no end to the
desire Garak fed in him.

When Garak began to growl softly against his neck and he felt the
first slight shudders of completion in the warm, solid body wrapped around
his, Bashir closed a fist around his own organ and began the pistoning
which would allow his climax.  He came only a few moments before his bowel
was awash with the heavy, heady warmth of his lover's copious seed.

Soon, Garak's strong arms loosened their hold and the spent organ
slipped from Julian's body.  Bashir guessed that the older man was already
asleep.  Not wishing to disturb him, with some difficulty Julian reached
over Garak and grabbed a cleansing cloth from the night table.  He used it
quickly, and then snuggled deep into the Cardassian's familiar, comfortable
embrace, smiling to himself.  Today had been a successful day, all round.


The following morning, after Julian had gone off to the infirmary,
Garak put a sign in his shop window which read "Open at 1200".  It would
irritate a few customers, but that mattered little to him at the moment.

He knew that Christmas meant a great deal to his young love.
Bashir seemed to take it quite seriously, despite the gaiety of the
celebrations.  Julian told had him that Christmas always reminded Terrans
of their families.  From his somewhat melancholy tone, Garak deduced that
there was an edge of sadness to the festivities for those far from their
loved ones.

Bashir spent considerable time communicating with his younger
sister Gemma.  Once, Julian had shown Garak one of her holomessages.  Five
years younger than her brother, she had the same rich dark hair, caramel
complexion and large, expressive eyes, even sharing the same tawny hazel
color.  Her voice was low and soft, full of music and humor.

It became obvious to Garak that brother and sister were very close.
 Garak believed that Gemma would probably be aware of her brother's
relationship with a former Cardassian spy.  What would her feelings about
the situation be?  He would find out soon enough, because he would need her
help if he were to give Julian the Christmas gift he hoped to.

The idea had begun with the tales Bashir told of Christmases Christmases, when he and Gemma were young, and their mother
was alive.  Julian never spoke of his father, but Garak knew that his
mother, whom he had loved a great deal, had died when the boy was ten and
his sister only five.

"She was always so beautiful to me as a child, so utterly perfect.
We loved her with all our hearts, and we knew that she loved us equally.
Afterwards, when I grew older and was able to look back with an adult's
eyes, I realized that she was also a beautiful person - kind and
compassionate, and wise.

"She was taken from us....too soon.  A shuttle accident.  One day
she was there, hugging us, fussing over our school work, and the
next....gone," Bashir had whispered sadly, remembering.

"It was as if a part of us had been ripped away, violently.  Gemma
and I missed her terribly.  We had aunts and uncles who loved us, but it
wasn't the same.  It was never the same again," he had sighed in melancholy

"There was so little of substance for us to keep for remembrance,
to treasure.  Not nearly enough.  I wish....I wish that just once I could
spend Christmas with mama again."  Julian's voice had been small and wistful.

Garak was determined that if it were within his power, he and
Gemma, who also loved Julian, might bring some bright piece of his lover's
past to DS9.

The first thing he did the following morning was to gain access to
the station's computer, inquiring of a contact address for Ms. Gemma
Bashir.  Then, with much trepidation, he sent what he hoped would be the
message which would win her to his cause.


Upon his return to the station after the disastrous reunion with
Enabran Tain, Garak shared quarters with Julian until his shop could be

The tailor had been quite depressed, and Julian was concerned.  At
first, Garak spoke little of what had transpired.  Julian knew better than
to press him, for the Cardassian would never willingly unburden himself if
he felt coerced in any way, even by his lover.  Bashir knew, however, that
there were other ways to pierce Garak's armor.

Garak had been back about a week, spending yet another day morosely
sifting through the rubble of his shop.  He returned to Bashir's quarters
to find Julian waiting for him, dinner already on the table.

Julian was quietly solicitous, careful not to overdo things.  A
certain amount of kanaar was consumed during the meal, and after a time
Garak's new edginess seemed to blur a bit.  There was some inconsequential
conversation revolving around station gossip, along with more kanaar.

Finally, Julian learned that his lover was still worried about
Mila, the woman Garak called Tain's 'housekeeper'.

She had not been heard from since Tain's death.  She had simply
disappeared, and Garak had ample reason to believe that she was dead.
Cardassia's Central Command would not likely leave untidy 'reminders' like
Mila about now that the once-feared head of the Obsidian Order had died in

"Few have ever cared what became of me, but I always knew that Mila
did," Garak remembered.  "She was....a remarkable woman.  Tain's
housekeeper certainly, and his mistress as well, when it suited Enabran.
What he would never admit was that the Order would not have been half as
efficient without her.  She knew *everything* - "  Garak shook his head,
"another reason she probably has not survived.

"She always looked after the new recruits, but when I arrived it
was....different.  We both sensed it.  I felt....I felt she loved me, as a
mother might love a son.  Perhaps you find that strange, in an organization
like the Order.  I know I did, at first.  But it was too welcome for me to
question for long.

"I had never known a mother's love.  My own mother did not wish to
have children, and fulfilled her duty to my father with my birth.  Any
'mothering' which I happened across in my youth was purely accidental,"
Garak sighed.

"When I was accused of treason, there were many ready to believe.
Since I had been Tain's favorite, they were eager for my downfall.  Mila
was my only defender.  She never believed me guilty.  If I had a wish for
your 'Christmas', Julian, it would be to know what has become of Mila, one
way or another."

The manner in which the wish was voiced told Julian that Garak felt
he already knew her fate, he only wanted it verified so that he could
effect some sort of closure in his life.

Who could Bashir turn to for this kind of information?  He doubted
that anyone he knew on Cardassia would help him in this.  Quark, then, and
perhaps....Odo, who seemed to have retained some Cardassian contacts.
Julian was not supposed to know this, but had made it his business recently
to find out.

If Mila's whereabouts were known by anyone, this would be Julian's
'gift' to Garak.  Even if the news were sad, it was something which his
lover wanted to know.


By mid November, DS9's Terran residents were in even more frenzied
pursuit of celebration, and Garak wondered if he could bear another month
of the interminable good will, profits or no profits.

Julian seemed by turns cheerful and pensive, depending upon his
memories.  He had asked Garak to make a dress of the fine, gossamer tk'd
min silk from Elosius 7 for Gemma, in a rich and vibrant red.  Garak agreed
that it would make a very special gift.  The dress was duly made, and per
Julian's instructions sent on its way in plenty of time to arrive before
Christmas Day.

By way of thanks, Bashir spent a most enjoyable afternoon
explaining the custom of mistletoe to Garak, liberally decorating both the
shop and the rooms upstairs.

Dizzy with kisses, Garak found himself wondering if the plant could
be grown in the station's hydroponics lab year round, as it appeared to
have some distinctly useful qualities....

The Cardassian's enquiries of Gemma Bashir had, happily, been
proceeding well.  Julian should be pleased indeed with his gift, if
luck....and love, had anything to do with it.

Bashir's search was proving difficult, but he hadn't given up hope.
There was still time.  And, against the possible absence of any news from
his sources by Christmas, Bashir had laid in quite a selection of
delicacies imported by Quark directly from Cardassia Prime.  No replicated
treats for his love, only the real thing.

For a while, sex took a back seat to the simple luxury of spending
what little free time they had together and sleeping in each other's arms
nearly every night.  Garak took it upon himself to ensure that there was
always a fresh supply of mistletoe.

Each had the same thought - *You are my Christmas gift;  I need no


The two weeks before Christmas were a nearly continuous round of
parties.  Garak was surprised that the closer the actual holiday came, the
more irritable and preoccupied Julian seemed.  His lover was on edge about
something.  He was obviously not going to share, however, and they had an
unspoken agreement between them - *If I want to tell you, I will.  If I
don't tell you, don't ask.*

As for Garak, things were going extremely well....better that he
could have dreamed when he first imagined Julian's gift.  It should be a
Christmas his love would long remember.


By Christmas week, the Cardassian found himself actually enjoying
the holiday mood which had taken over the station.  He had informed all of
his customers that his shop would close on December 20 and reopen December

More intimate get-togethers seemed to be the rule now, with special
friends sharing the holiday spirit.  Garak and Julian even gave their own
small party, and the tailor was surprised at how many came.  His natural
scepticism told him that few people could resist free refreshments, and
also that Julian was quite well-liked among the station's populace.
Despite this, he found that he had a good time.  Everyone seemed to be in a
lighthearted mood, even Major Kira.  And Chief O'Brien had joined him in a

Two days before Christmas, Garak noted that Bashir's spirits had
brightened considerably, and he was once again the bubbly, enthusiastic
young man who ensured that life was never dull for a middle-aged Cardassian

Garak, meanwhile, was having a bit of a problem keeping his 'gift'
hidden safely away from Julian.


Early on Christmas Eve, the two dressed to attend a traditional
religious service.  Julian explained to Garak that while he didn't much
believe in the religious beliefs surrounding Christmas, so much tradition
was bound into the holiday that attending such services had become part of
the celebration.  He told Garak that he wanted to go, but he didn't expect
the tailor to accompany him.  Yet Garak had agreed to go instantly;  their
attendance would fit in perfectly with his plans.
The Cardassian also welcomed the opportunity to see the ritual which
was the basis of the weeks of excitement and happiness he had observed
among the Terrans.  Perhaps the original meaning of the holiday had gotten
'a bit lost', as Julian said, but Garak wanted to see what had started it
all.  It should also give him additional clues to the puzzle that was his
young lover.
Holosuite 4 had been turned into a candlelit Gothic cathedral.  The
seats were filling quickly, and Garak mused that many of the Bajorans and
other station visitors must be as curious as he was about this most joyful
of Terran holidays.

The cathedral setting was certainly beautiful, even to the
Cardassian.  It was good to see that some Terrans revered age and history,
after all.  The music was by turns peaceful and infectiously happy.  Care
seemed to have fallen away from all of the faces Garak observed....even

*So different than Cardassian ritual observances.  Your religion
brings you peace;  ours brought us to war and chaos.  Are we victims of
Fate as much as the Bajorans?  I wonder if your faith has an answer to
that, doctor.*

"When I was a boy, I used to sing in the church choir," Julian
confided to Garak softly.

Garak's eye ridges lifted slightly.

"I didn't know you could sing."

"Oh, I have a reasonable voice.  Gemma's the real singer in the
family now.  My mother was a rather famous singer, actually."
Bashir's voice faded in sudden sadness.  Garak squeezed his hand.

*Only a little longer, my love.*

The service continued to its inevitable conclusion after a long
round of Christmas songs called 'carols', in which Julian eventually
joined, his momentary melancholy lifting.

"You shouldn't be so modest.  You have a very pleasant voice.  I
should enjoy it if you....sang to me some time," Garak admitted as they
left the 'cathedral' hand in hand.

"Sing to *you*?" Julian gave him a lopsided grin.  "Somehow I never
imagined - yes, of course, if you'd like that - although I'm afraid I don't
know any Cardassian songs."

"I don't doubt it!  They're not particularly memorable," Garak
admitted ruefully.

"We seem to be on our own, for the next two days at least.  Shall
we head downstairs to that Christmas dinner Quark's been boasting about for
the last month?" Bashir asked.

"If it would please you."

"It would please me.  I want to be seen out with you, tonight of
all nights.  You're my family now, Garak, as much as Gemma," Julian confided.

The Cardassian could think of no answer to that but to draw him
into the nearest alcove and bestow a long, tender kiss before they moved
back into the light and continued out of the holosuites.  The 'answer' was,
indeed, repeated twice more before they actually arrived at the Ferengi's celebration.

During dinner, it was all either of them could do to remain for the
leisurely meal.  Each man was a mess of nervous anticipation in regard to
their respective gifts.

The meal eventually ended, however, and they were once again
strolling arm in arm down the Promenade.  Julian turned to go into the
tailor's shop, looking at Garak with a question in his eyes as the older
man shook his head.

"Where are we going?" Bashir asked.

"It's time you had your Christmas gift, Julian," Garak told him.
"It waits for you in Holosuite 2.  Come, I'll walk back with you," he
instructed, steering Bashir towards Quark's again.

"But the idea is to share, Garak, open our gifts together," Julian

Garak smiled.  "I know, and I appreciate the sentiment.  But this
gift is better enjoyed alone," he insisted.

"If you wish to join me after you've seen it, please do.  However,
I hope that you'll stay in the Holosuite for as long as it pleases you,"
Garak encouraged.

"I want you to come with me," Julian hesitated, looking suddenly
young, and lonely.

"No, you don't.  Go, Julian," Garak smiled, bestowing a soft kiss
on the doctor's forehead.  "It's my gift to you.  Don't waste it," he
chided, giving Bashir a slight push and a well placed hand on the rump, in
the manner of encouraging an unruly child.

Rather forlornly, Bashir nodded his head and turned to the
holosuites.  This wasn't turning out exactly as he'd planned.  What had
Garak done?  He fervently hoped it was nothing illegal!

Garak continued on to the shop, walking slowly up the stairs.  He
was happy for Julian....and it was a Terran celebration, after all.  He
knew Julian would have a gift for him, and that whatever it was it would
please him, because it was given with love.  *Love*.  Unconsciously, Garak

He froze when he reached the top of the stairs.  He had been about
to call for light when he realized the lights were already on.  He knew
that they had not been on when he and Julian had left.  Garak advanced into
the room watchful, suspicious.

"Merry....Christmas, Elim."



Intensely curious at his most unusual send-off, Julian approached
the holosuite.  When he attempted to enter, he was asked to identify
himself.  It looked as if Garak wanted to be certain that he was the only
one who saw his gift.  Julian was identified by his voice and palm prints,
and the holosuite door opened.

He stood utterly still, his heart skipping a few beats.  It was the
house in Kensington, and it appeared to be....Christmas morning.  The
furnishings, the tree, the decorations....all of it, took him back nearly
18 years.  A boy with dark, wayward curls was entranced by a miniature
anti-grav pod, although he hadn't quite got the hang of the remote control;
 the pod crashed into the Christmas tree as he watched.

A small, silvery voice, surrounded by heaps of decorated paper and
cradling a baby doll, giggled.  Had Gemma ever been so young?  Had he?

"Never mind, Julian.  With a bit of practice you'll be flying your
ship in no time.  Have you decided what you'll call her?"

"MAMA!"  The word was torn from Bashir.  He had not told Garak how
beautiful she was, he couldn't have.  At this moment, there were no words
to describe his mother.  Happy, gentle mama, enjoying Christmas through her
children's eyes.  The tears welled up, and his throat burned with the
effort not to cry.

How had Garak done this?  *What* had he done?  Julian had never
dreamed that any of these memories could be retrieved in such a form, but
his lover had made some kind of magic....

"Happy Christmas, pet."

Julian turned slowly.

Gemma had grown into a beautiful young woman, very like her mother.
 Julian hadn't seen her in nearly four years.  This image must be quite

"Julian?  Julian....I'm not a holo image, I'm real.  It's me,

"Of course it's not *you*, it can't be.  It was wonderful of Garak
to have done this, found this, for me.  It's an incredible gift.  Gemma
must be responsible, but you can't be her, can't be *real*," Bashir sighed,
"although God knows, I wish you were."

"I told him you wouldn't believe it," Gemma shook her head,
exasperated. "Come with me, Julian Subatoi Bashir, and I'll prove it to you."

The shimmering brilliance that was his little sister, wearing the
red silk dress, took Julian by the hand and dragged him outside of the
holosuite - whereupon she pinched him, hard.

"OW!  Oh, Gem, it's really *you*!  But in your messages, you never
let on-"

"Now, why would I have done that, and spoil your Garak's surprise?"

"Garak - you've met him?"

"I have.  I'm surprised at you, Julian - you've finally found
someone with his feet on the ground and more than just a pretty face to
recommend him  -  you're growing up at last," Gemma teased.

"The two of you did....all of this, without me having any idea?
Ah, Garak!  Well - I suspect he's having a happy Christmas of his own just
now.  Let's go back inside and have ours, and I'll tell you all about it,
shall I?" Bashir asked, in danger of being overwhelmed by the gift and the
emotion behind it.


Elim Garak, the former second in command of the Obsidian Order, lay
with his head in the lap of the gray-haired Mila, blissfully happy.  He
might never know how quiet, thoughtful Julian had managed this, but he
hoped to hear the story one day.  Now, he listened to Mila's low, soft voice.
"I was well hidden and determined to stay that way until I received
Julian's message.  He pled for you quite eloquently, Elim.  I only hope
that you know how I have missed you, worried about you, all these years.  I
was trapped by the....situation, until Enabran died.  I did love him, you
know.  I suppose that's difficult for you to understand, but I did," Mila

"No, not so difficult.  I loved him, too.  But Tain wasn't a man
who understood love.  It was wasted on him.  We wasted so much of our lives
trying to make him care for us," Garak sighed.

"Ah, but you have found one who cares for you, haven't you?  It was
far from easy to locate me, Elim, or even to discover that I was alive.
The young man put himself at considerable risk.  I don't know how your
Julian did it, but there is one thing I do know.  He loves you.  I can see
it in his eyes, and hear it in his voice," the Cardassian woman smiled.

"Whatever the future may bring, I can rest easier now, knowing that
you have someone who loves you as I do.  Our lives have been difficult,
Elim.  Painful.  Perhaps Julian is an omen for the future.  For you, and
for Cardassia.

"But, enough of sad memories!  Your young love has assured me that
your rooms are filled to bursting with homemade delicacies and he has told
me where to find them.  This is a human celebration, but a celebration
nonetheless, of many things," Mila smiled, stroking Garak's forehead softly.

"Julian.  My sweet Julian has done this," Garak sighed.  "I
celebrate *him*, every day.  To wake with him....sleep with him.  To hear
his voice.  Ah!  I'm sure I sound like a sentimental fool."

"No.  Only like a man in love," Mila assured him.  "Come - let's
find the Yalzhar to begin with, and the o'ptak.  You were always so fond of


"It was two months ago that Garak sent his first message to me.  He
told me how homesick you were, and how you talked about mama," Gemma
explained.  "He said he didn't understand this Christmas business, but he
would do anything to make you happy.  I believed him, Julian.  He's so
devoted to you."

Bashir looked at his sister in surprise.

"I know.  I know what you've told me of his past.  But he *loves*
you Julian, and well, life's too short - " Gemma shrugged.

"At first, it was his request only that I compile a holoprogram
with as many bits and pieces of our childhood as I could manage.  Some
things were easy - a couple of programs I already had, ones borrowed from
the aunts.  But it wasn't easy to find very much of mama, and it was
painful for me," Gemma sighed.

"Garak could see how difficult his request had been, and it was he
who suggested....asked, if I might be able to make the journey.  I felt it
was important, for all of us.  I wanted to be with you, love, but I also
knew there was someone else I should meet.  Someone who was very important
in your life, and so would be in mine.

"I wanted to come, but it was a bit difficult.  I had to cancel
three singing engagements - not that it matters in the least - still, I'm
not accustomed to doing things like that.  Too 'responsible'," Gemma
grinned.  "There were a couple of missed shuttle connections, and it was
doubtful for a while if I'd make it in time, but it's all worked out in the
end," his sister smiled indulgently as Julian fed her a freshly roasted

Julian hugged her, burying his face in her luxurious hair.

"I can't believe you're really here, and I can actually touch you,
and smell your perfume.  It's so *good* to see you.  I've missed you!"
Bashir told Gemma.

"I've missed you too.  But you've got someone else looking out for
you now.  I like your tailor, Julian.  He loves you, very much.  You won't
hurt him, will you?  I remember a young Starfleet cadet - "

"I've changed too, Gem.  I could never hurt Garak.  I can't imagine
life without him.  He's....everything to me.  Just....everything.  I can't
explain it - "

"You don't need to explain love, Julian," Gemma assured him.  "I'm
glad to know that I won't be the only person out here who worries about you."


Christmas Eve passed into Christmas morning as the four got
acquainted, and into evening again by the time they had consumed another
feast in Garak's rooms.  They had been drawn together through love, but
fragile friendships were already budding between them.  However, an
inevitable sadness soon set in at their enforced parting, for neither Gemma
nor Mila could remain on DS9.

Gemma would leave for Earth in the morning, back to the obligations
of her singing career and her three year old son.  Julian's only
disappointment had been that little Renny had not accompanied his mother.
He had only seen holoimages of his chubby, mischievous nephew.

Both Garak and Julian had tried to insist, but Mila could not be
prevailed upon to stay.  The former housekeeper was equally firm in her
resolve that she would not endanger either of them by her permanent
presence on the station.  She would go back into hiding, although she had
agreed to communicate with Garak as often as it was safe to do so.

"Gem, send me messages all the way home, please.  It's so hard, now
that I've seen you, to let you go back in only these few days.  I wish we
could be together more often," Julian pouted as only he could.

Garak was amused to see that it worked on someone besides him.

"I know, love - me too," Gemma Bashir sighed, her eyes moist.
"Perhaps you can manage to get away to some conference nearer home before
too long.  Now that we've done it this once we'll keep on, of course we will."

"Of course," Julian echoed the bright hope.

"Goodbye, pet."

Gemma hugged him tightly.  They were well aware that they might
never see each other again.  Anyone with family in Starfleet knew that.

"Goodbye, Garak the tailor.  Promise me you'll be good to each other."

Garak was touched to receive a parting kiss.

"We will," he smiled a genuine smile, daring to reciprocate with a
touch of his lips to Gemma's forehead.

Mila departed in the middle of the night, aboard a Krevisan
freighter.  Garak clasped her to him tenderly, as if he never wanted to
release her.  He kissed the top of her gray head, her forehead, her cheeks,
before he reluctantly let her go.

"Goodbye, my son.  Keep well.  Love him, Julian.  It is all either
of us will ask of you," Mila told Bashir.

"I do love him, never doubt it," Julian reassured her.

"Goodbye....mother."  The word was whispered.

Julian smiled.  *Yes, he told me he thinks of her as his mother.*

Garak steeled himself against the pain of this parting, which
Julian must not recognize for what it was.

*He believes it is a figure of speech, a gesture of affection.  He
doesn't know - that which I could not give him, he's given me in truth.  I
brought his mother back to him for a little while, but Julian's mother is
dead.  He must believe mine is as well.  It would be his life if he knew.
I cannot tell least, not for some time.
Perhaps one day he will understand what he has returned to me.*


"You aren't saying much.  Are you all right?" Julian murmured
against Garak's chest.  They had made tender, gentle love all afternoon and
into the evening, and now both were half asleep.

"Yes, love.  Very much so," Garak sighed, cupping his hands under
lean buttocks and pressing his lover's body more tightly to his.  Neither
had enough energy to do more than enjoy the warmth and the closeness of the

"I've begun to think I'm not too old to believe in Father Christmas
after all," Julian sighed, pressing his lips to a charcoal-colored nipple.
No longer able to respond as he wished, still Garak shivered at the

"'Father Christmas'?  There is yet *more* to this celebration which
you have not told me?" Garak protested mildly, stroking his lover's hair.

Bashir chuckled, his breath tickling Garak's neck.

"Something to look forward to next year."


"Happy Christmas, Garak."

"Yes, it was a happy Christmas, my Julian."

Bashir rested his head on the tailor's shoulder and began to sing,

*"Silent night, holy night.  All is calm, all is bright...."*


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