THE END - the final episode of Deep Space Nine
By Laurie Streenz

In response to Challenge #2:  Write a story to go with this image.
 
The picture was just of them standing there in the dark, so in this spend alot
of time in the dark.  I'm sorry this story isn't very long.  I hope it doesn't
suck.
 
NO Spoilers - I have not seen the last episode, I have no idea how everything
is going to end, this is entirely theoretical.
 
Warning:  Character death and no sex.  <bummer>

***

//  I never thought I would die like this.  Lying on the floor of my own shop,
all alone, slowly bleeding to death.  I wonder what Tain would say?  He'd
probably just laugh, and leave me here.  He'd say I'm getting exactly what I
deserve.   Maybe he's right.  There's something dripping on my face.  Oh no,
don't tell me.  I'm trapped right under a leak.  I always thought I would go
out with a little more dignity. //

Garak wiped the liquid from his face, before it ran into his eyes.  He looked
at his hand, and it was covered with blood.  His breathing quickened, and he
turned his head away.

//Wonderful.  I'm bleeding from my head, too.  I wish I had a Phaser.  Or even
a knife.  Then I could end it quickly.  I don't want to die like this.  //

The station shook violently, and Garak was overcome with a wave of dizziness.
The station had been under attack for hours.  Everyone had found out about the
sickness that was affecting the founders, and the dominion had been growing
increasingly desperate.  They had decided they had to find a quicker way to
end the war, and that retaking Deep Space Nine was the best way.  They had
launched an all out assault, and the Federation had been taken by surprise.
The fleet was trying their best to defend the station, but it was a downhill
battle.  The Defiant had been on patrol, with Sisko in command, and now it was
in the thick of the fight.

When the attack started, Garak had decided it would be best to remain in his
shop.  He knew people had a tendency to panic in crisis situations, and he was
correct.  The promenade had been in chaos.  Starfleet and Bajoran officers had
been hurrying to their posts and to repair damage to the station.  A large
number of Bajoran civilians were in the temple, praying for the prophets to
save them.  Garak had seen Humans, Bajorans, Klingons, and Romulans preparing
to defend the station in case the dominion managed to board it.  Screams could
be heard every time the station shook from a direct hit.

Garak had been in his shop, preparing his own weapons.  He had decided there
was no longer any need to continue to hide them from Odo, and he intended to
defend himself.  There had been a flash of light, and a deafening boom, as a
power conduit exploded on the promenade.  Garak had seen the walls of his shop
collapsing as he lost consciousness.

***

"Captain Davis, we lost contact with Captain Sisko.  He's not answering our
hails.  Do you have a visual?"

"I'm sorry, Colonel.  The Defiant was destroyed.  There were no survivors."

Ops went completely silent.  Captain Sisko, Worf, Chief O'Brien, and dozens of
Starfleet and Bajoran officers had been on the Defiant.  Doctor Bashir felt a
knot in his stomach.  He braced himself on the empty chair he was standing
behind, as he tried not to faint.  The silence went on for a moment, before
Colonel Kira realized they had no choice but to go on fighting.  The Emissary
had given his life to protect this station, and she had no intention of losing
it now.  She took charge and started barking out orders.  Julian ignored her,
as he was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions.

//  I don't believe it.  I can't believe they're really dead.  Miles is gone.
Captain Sisko.  Worf.  They're all gone.  It's not possible.  What?  Kira said
my name.  She's looking at me.  What did she say?//

"Doctor, get ahold of yourself.  I need you to get down to the infirmary and
prepare for incoming casualties."

Julian shook himself, trying to regain his focus.  "Yes, um, right.  I'm on my
way."

//  At least it will give me something to occupy my mind. //  Julian began
walking to the turbolift.

"Julian!"  The doctor turned around.  "Did you forget something?"  Kira
indicated his medkit, which he'd left sitting on a chair.

Julian retrieved it, and headed for the infirmary.  He stepped onto the
turbolift.  "Promenade."

***

Julian walked briskly down the promenade.  It was now largely deserted, with
everyone on the station either helping prepare to defend it, or home with
their families.  He saw evidence of an explosion.  There was debris lying all
around, but it looked as if there hadn't been anyone near it.  Then he noticed
Garak's shop.

//  Oh no!  Not Garak, too.  Everyone I care about is dying!  I can't go on
like this.  Nothing is ever going to be the same again.  Nothing.  //  Julian
stared at what was left of the entrance to Garak's shop, when suddenly he
heard hoarse coughing inside.  //  He's alive! I've got to help him!  //
Julian glanced toward the infirmary.  It was crawling with nurses and doctors,
and everything seemed to be under control.  Without waiting another second, he
entered the shop, carefully climbing over the debris.  The shop was dark,
except for the light filtering in from the promenade.  He found the tailor
unconscious, and trapped under a beam.  He was barely alive, and lying in a
pool of blood.  //  Look at him.  He's been lying here alone all this time.
How could I have let this happen?  I should have been here.  I should have
been with him.  //

Julian reached his friend, and tore open his medkit.  He was trembling with
reaction to everything that had happened.  All he could focus on was saving
Garak.  He couldn't help the others, but he could save his friend.  His
tricorder showed mostly minor injuries, other than the cut on his leg and on
his head.  He sealed the wounds as best he could, and gave Garak a painkiller.
Hopefully the tailor hadn't already lost too much blood.  Garak moaned, and
started to stir.  //  Please, Garak.  Wake up.  Don't die on me.  Not now.
You're all I have left.  //

***

//  What's happening?  The pain is gone.  I must be going numb.  It probably
won't be long now.  It will finally be over.  Wait.  Someone's here.  Who is
it?  Oh, Doctor Bashir.  Am I in the infirmary?  //

"Garak, open your eyes.  Yes, that's it.  Are you feeling better?"

Garak tried to speak, but he couldn't at first.  He coughed, and cleared his
throat to try again.  "Doctor?"

//  He's okay.  Thank god.  At least I could save one person.  //

Suddenly, the whole station shook with another explosion.  The structure of
the entryway to Garak's shop collapsed, sending smoke and debris everywhere.
Julian instinctively covered Garak with his own body.  Bits of metal and
shards of glass bounced off his back, but he wasn't injured.  But Julian
stayed where he was.  Everything that had happened began to sink in, and he
started shaking uncontrollably.  He just lay there helplessly, with his
forehead on Garak's chest.

"Doctor?"  //  He's so young.  //  Garak reached up, and put his arm across
Julian's shoulders.  "It's all right.  Calm down.  It's going to be okay."
Garak could see he was going to have to take charge.  In the Obsidian Order he
had been trained to remain calm in a crisis.  It had saved his life more than
once.  "Get up."  He pushed Julian away, and sat up, ignoring the dizziness
this caused.  He quickly surveyed their surroundings. The shop was almost
completely dark with the entrance collapsed, but his Cardassian eyes allowed
him to see fairly well.  //  We're trapped.  The entrance is  completely caved
in.  I don't see any way for us to get through.  We can't call Ops, they
already have their hands full.  We'll have to find our own way out of here. //

Garak climbed to his feet, and dragged Julian up by his uniform.  "Doctor?"
Julian was staring at nothing.  The young man seemed to be going into shock.
Garak had to find a way to snap him out of it.  "Doctor?"  Garak slapped him
across the face.  Julian blinked in surprise.

//  What did he do that for?  //  "What did you do that for?"

Relieved to have regained the doctor's attention, he said "Well, it seems
we've got something of a problem.  How is the battle going?  Is the Defiant
here?"  Garak was shocked at the sudden look of despair on his friend's face.
//  Something must have happened.  //   Garak had come to think of several of
the station's inhabitants, and the Defiant's crew, as friends.  He felt sorrow
for them, but he couldn't do anything for them now.  He had to concentrate on
the doctor.  //  I have to give him something else to think about.  //  Garak
thought for a moment.  "Why don't you see if you can think of a way for us to
get out of here.  The only entrance is collapsed."

"I'll see what I can do."  Julian turned around and tried to examine the
collapsed entrance to the shop.  He could barely see anything in the darkness.
//  It's no good.  We're completely trapped.  //  He slapped his chest.
"Bashir to Ops"  There was no response.  "Bashir to anyone who can hear me."
Silence.  //  I guess we'll just have to wait until they find us here.  It
could be awhile.  //  He carefully made his way to where Garak was standing.
His eyes were gradually adjusting to the lack of light.

Suddenly, the station shook again, and both men had to grab the counter to
remain standing.  A feeling of dread began to overcome Garak.  //  Something's
wrong.  Why are they still firing on the station?  They should have boarded us
by now.  They're doing too much damage.  Unless...  //

"Garak?  Are you okay?"  //  He's just standing there.  Maybe he's still
injured?  No, the tricorder would have shown a more serious injury.  He must
just be worried about the jam we're in.  As a matter of fact, so am I.  //
"Garak, it's going to be okay.  The fleet will be able to fend off the
dominion.  But if we get captured, we'll get through it.  We did it before, we
can do it again.  It will be okay."

"Doctor.  They're not trying to capture the station.  They're trying to
destroy it.  And they will very likely succeed.  We are going to die."

Both men were silent as Garak's words echoed in the shop.  The station rocked
with another explosion.  Julian stared at his friend, possibly the only friend
he had left.  "Garak."  Garak refused to look at him.  The station shook
again, and they both had trouble staying on their feet.  //  There isn't much
time left.  I have to tell him.  I can't just die without telling him.  I
always thought there would be time.  I should have said it years ago.  //
"Garak, look at me."  The tailor didn't move.  Julian walked around to stand
in front of him.  Then he paused.  "Garak, the shooting stopped.  Maybe the
dominion retreated."

"I doubt it.  They've probably boarded the station and are in the process of
planting an explosive device."  Garak met Julian's gaze.  //  Why does he have
to look at me like that?  I wish the station would just explode so we could be
done with it.  It would be easier that way.  I don't want him to know that I'm
frightened.  //

Julian looked at Garak.  //  Why does he have to look at me like that?  It's
like he's peering into my soul.  I have to tell him.  He probably already
knows.  He reads me like a book.  But I have to say it.  I'll just spit it
out, it will be easier that way.  //

"Garak...  Um... "  Julian took a deep breath, and closed his eyes.  "Garak.
I love you."  Julian felt as if a weight had been lifted.  The relief was
overwhelming.  When Garak didn't say anything after a few moments, Julian
opened his eyes.  //  I can't see him.  It's so dark.  What?  Is that a tear?
//

"No one...   No one has ever said that to me before."  //  I love you, too,
Julian //  Garak didn't have to say it aloud, Julian could see it in his eyes.
The two men stared at each other in wonder, as all the walls and emotional
barriers between them came crashing down.  Tears were streaming down Julian's
face when they fell into each others arms.  They kissed with all the passion
that had been building up over all those years, all those lunches, all those
meaningless conversations where they never said what they really meant to say.
Neither of them had allowed the other to see how they truly felt.  They broke
the kiss, and just looked into each others eyes as they held each other close,
and waited for the end.

They heard a sound, the sound of an explosion.  Their breathing quickened as
they realized it had started.  This was their last moment together.  When the
sound of the explosion grew close, they clung tightly to each other.  Julian's
fingers dug into Garak's shoulders.  They pressed their lips together one last
time as the flames reached the shop.  The station exploded in a burst that
could be seen all the way from Bajor.  There was nothing left.

The End.

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