Thanks, I Think...
by: Olivia Monteith
rated: G

Editor's note:  Livvy didn't want to post this story (for a couple of reasons),
but some of us convinced her that it's good, and needs to see the light of
day...the title is from me, but the rest is *all* Livvy!

This story is set in the same universe as "Frightfully Fun"; in it, Garak and
Julian are living on Earth, helping out with the Federation's efforts against
the Dominion.  In thi story, Garak celebrates his first Thanksgiving...
 
~~~~~

Garak was finding that there were many things he really disliked
about Earth. One was the weather. Since he had arrived here with Dr.
Bashir several months ago, this treacherous climate had gone through a
slow decline. Upon arrival, he had rather liked the balmy heat of late
summer, although Julian insisted on having the environmental controls of
their modest home set at a cooler temperature than the outside.
 
Then, gradually it had begun to grow cooler. As it neared temperatures that
made the Cardassian's teeth chatter, the winds began to blow forcefully, and
the leaves on the trees changed. Garak thought back to this time with a slight
smirk. Autumn had at least had it's moments. Halloween in particular. He had
rather enjoyed Thanksgiving, even though Julian's parents had come for dinner.

Mrs. Bashir had brought with her a lovely feast. Garak had found
that he could tolerate Mr. Bashir's blusterings and pompous attitude for
a few hours when presented with such wonderful food. The thought did
still occur to him to slip something into Mr. Bashir's food that would
make him more congenial, and quite unconscious company. He had restrained
himself, but was almost certain after the meal that someone else had had
the same notion, and this person was not as selective or careful as he
would have been. Before he had finished his desert, he had begun to feel
drowsy. He looked around the table somewhat in alarm, and saw that
Julian had a heavy look to his eyelids, but a rather pleasant, happy
expression on his face. Mr. Bashir was leaning back in his chair, and
appeared to have already fully succumbed. Mrs. Bashir, on the other
hand, was rather radiant, fairly bouncing from her chair and gathering
dishes. Could she have been the one to drug them? Why would she drug her
own husband and child? And why wasn't she affected? Garak could only
surmise that if she had indeed drugged them intentionally, it was not a
fatal substance, nor would it make him ill. The affect was too slow, and
did seem rather pleasant in it's own rather hazy way. She probably only
wanted to ensure that they get along for the rest of the evening.

She absolutely beamed when both Julian and Richard in turn told her
how wonderful the meal had been. "Dinner was wonderful, Mother," and
"Yes, Dearest. Everything was perfect." Garak felt a nudge at his shin,
indicating that he too, should offer a compliment, which he quickly did
saying, "Mrs. Bashir, that was the most exquisite meal I have ever had
the pleasure of eating, and I consider myself to be quite a connoisseur of
fine dining."
 
Mrs. Bashir paused in gathering the empty dishes from the table,
and stared at Garak a moment, long enough that he was sure he had
committed some human taboo, or crossed some line. Her eyes watered a
little bit, and just when he was on the verge of recanting his
compliment, she broke into a smile. "Thank you, Mr. Garak. What a sweet
thing to say."
 
"Not at all, I was only being honest," he continued, finding that
he was 'on a roll' as he had heard Quark say of someone who was doing
well at the Dabo tables. ""May I help you with the dishes?" he offered
as he stood rather unsteadily and began to collect plates and cups. He
heard Julian mutter, "Suck up," and felt Mr. Bashir's scowl upon him,
but he ignored the two admirably. Whatever Mrs. Bashir had slipped into
the food had the nice side affect of making these irritants seem
inconsequential. Even Julian and his father could not muster up the
energy required to be truly annoying. He would have to speak with her
about getting some of this substance for his own personal use. There
were a few Starfleet officers in the intelligence department he would
like to try this on.

"If you just want to help, but really, it's not necessary Mr.
Garak. It only takes one person to put them into the reclaimor," she
said pleasantly as Julian and Richard stood up slowly from the table and
shuffled into the den. Here Richard selfishly took the entire couch to
lie down and unbutton his pants, and Julian dragged a decorative blanket
and a couple of cushions from the back of said furnishing and made
himself comfortable on the rug near the holo imager. Seemingly with the
last of his genetically enhanced stamina that Garak had heard *so* much
about, Julian lifted the remote control and 'surfed' through the
channels, finally settling on a noisy sporting event of some sort.

"If you want to help, you can take the food from the table and
start putting it into these containers," Mrs. Bashir suggested,
indicating some cheap looking plastic dishes with secure airtight lids.

"Certainly. One wouldn't want to waste such lovely food, especially
food that was not replicated. A sad rarity these days."
 
"I'm glad you think so, Mr. Garak. I'm leaving the leftovers with
you. I know Jules doesn't cook, and I will never be convinced that
replicated food is as nutritious as the real thing."
 
Julian's slurred voice floated from the living room, "Thanks,
Mother. It really is appreciated, but I assure you, as a doctor, that
replicators are designed so that no matter what you eat, you are getting
everything your body needs, but without the excess fats, cholesterols,
and so on that you get from real food. Some scientists even suggest that
eating replicated food on a daily basis is healthier than organic food.
Organic foods are fine every now and again, but they are considered
something like what used to be called 'junk food' a century or two ago."

"Listen to the boy, Amsha. We'll take about half of that with us,
wouldn't want to be responsible for Jules' bad eating habits," Richard
added sarcastically from the sofa.

"Richard, don't be silly. He could stand to gain some weight. I do
believe Mr. Garak could use it, too. You look as if you could use some
color, my dear. You look a bit pallid."

"Mother, he's a Cardassian, he's supposed to be that color."

"Yes, dear, they are all like that," Richard addressed to his wife.
Then in a lower tone he added, "Colorless and cold, the lot of them."

Julian swiveled his head and shot his father a murderous glare.

"What?!" Richard asked, trying to sound innocent.

Garak caught himself as he almost voiced his own reply to Mr.
Bashir's rude comment, preferring to listen as he heard Julian's soft
accented voice reply in a savage whisper. "Father, I happen to love him,
and I don't find him cold. I would like to remind you that while you are
my father, and I do owe you my respect, he is my lover, and will not
choose between the two of you. Now, you are in *our* house, as in mine
and Elim's. If you cannot refrain from being an ass, then allow me to
show you to the transporter. If you can't accept him, you can't accept
me. It's as simple as that."

Garak's heart swelled with pride, hearing his beloved defend him
against the man who should have been the single largest influence in his
life. the fact that Julian grew up to be such a warm, and accepting
adult after living his childhood in the influence of this man was a
tribute to his strength of character. He felt a warm hand wrap around
his arm, and turned to see Julian's eyes peering at him from a female
face.

"Please, don't take Richard's attitude as that shared by the whole
family. He is only one part of a larger group. Jules does love you very
much, and I have no choice but to love someone who can make my child so
happy. He says great things of you."

"No, Mrs. Bashir. I won't think that. I see where Julian came into
his wonderful heart," he replied, covering her hand with his own. "Now,
how should I pack this food? Half for you and half for us?"
 
They had left later that evening, Richard making an obvious attempt
at civility on the transporter.  He embraced his son, and then turned to
Garak, extending his hand to shake the Cardassian's.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. Garak. Be good to Jules." Garak could see
the effort it took for the human to make this small concession, and he
returned sentiment. After receiving a warm hug from Mrs. Bashir, and
being nearly ordered to call her Amsha or Mother, Garak stepped away a
few paces and allowed Julian a few moments of privacy with his parents.
After their departure, he caught a flash of loss in Julian's expression
before he turned his gaze fully to his Cardassian lover, and brightened
considerably.

"Well, that went well!" he said, sounding slightly strained.

"Which part? The moment when your father taught us all the true
meaning of foul flatulence, or when the three of us feel into a drugged
sleep on the sofa while watching the, parade did you call it? and all
woke to find your mother making the holoimage of the three of us all
leaning against one another and drooling? I still think she was
gathering material for blackmail."

Julian chuckled. "Garak, I thought you liked my mother," he said
teasingly.
 
"I do. I also admire her rather Cardassian qualities. She can be
quite ruthless, did you know that?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Why, didn't you know? She drugged us into lethargy, she took Gul
only knows how many images of us, slouching on that couch, with your
father's hand on my knee, and your head on my shoulder, my own in turn
on his?! She manipulated us all masterfully, so that I didn't even
notice at first, and by the time I realized, I was so awed by her
ability, that I could only bow out of her way. She put Tain to shame
with her subtlety. Perhaps, Doctor, you should check your DNA to see if
there is any Cardassian there.  I have my suspicions about your mother."

"I'm not sure she would understand that she would see that as a
compliment, but I accept it and appreciate it on her behalf," Julian
smiled warmly at him.

"I believe that she could appreciate it in the manner it was
intended. Don't underestimate your mother, Dearest. She has been
underestimated for far too long. By the way, when the two of you
disappeared for a little while, where did you go?"

"She was giving me some things she had saved from my childhood.
Some decorations for the next holiday, Christmas. It's traditional that
either tonight, or tomorrow, humans decorate their homes with strings of
lights, plants, trees, and several other things in anticipation for the
coming holiday."
 
"And those rather unattractive parasitic plants that you brought
back from your short walk?"
 
"Ah, you mean the mistletoe? Actually, that's one of the nicest
things about Christmas. You see, you hang this plant over doorways, and
when you are standing beneath it with someone else, traditionally, you
kiss the other person. If the two are not romantically involved, a
handshake, hug or kiss on the cheek will suffice, but generally it means
a rather... warming... and intimate gesture," he said finally, his voice
growing softer, until his final words came out on the last wisps of his
breath. He was looking at Garak expectantly through hooded eyes, which
went from the Cardassian blue to the doorway that they were standing in.
There, tied in a velvet red bow, was a sprig of mistletoe.
 
"Well, there is an expression I have heard you humans use. When in
Rome....."
 
The End

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