by: Heather Cook

spoilers: early season 6 episodes & "The Sound of Her Voice"

The dialogue in the first portion of this story is shamelessly lifted
(verbatim) from the episode "The Sound of Her Voice"...I freely admit
that it, and all of the characters in this story are owned by
Paramount...it's really too bad, because they have more fun in *my*
stories than they seem to in *their* stories.

Assistance with the Cardassian language (for which I am eternally greatful)
was provided by Esther Schrager; you may visit her Cardassian language
page here.

OY!  How could I forget to thank my beta-readers, Mark and kira-nerys?!
Many thanks go to them - without their help, I'm sure that this would have
been just awful - and according to them, the sex scene would have been terribly

Translations: benim mahiyet = my heart (in Turkish, which is the closest
I could come to Arabic - have you ever tried to find Arabic words in
western type faces? Ha. I thought so.)

But I fear, I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose here in this lonely place
Tangled up in your embrace
There's nothing I'd like better than to fall.
 ~ "Fear", Sarah McLachlan

Looking around the room, Julian was saddened to realize that he couldn't
remember the last time they had all been together for purposes other
than work.  It had taken the death of a woman none of them had ever met
face-to-face to bring them all together.  Part of it was an effect of
the war, but Julian realized that he carried part of the blame, as did
every person in this room ...  Admitting culpability to himself was
easy, but telling the others, the people that he cared about...that was
another matter entirely.

Taking his feelings out of a dark and hidden place, Julian stepped up,
and addressed the assembled officers -- his friends and co-workers - his
family.  "I, um, I just wanted to say that although I only talked with
her a very short time, I…really admired Lisa Cusak.   I cared about her,
and I'm going to miss her."  Pausing, Julian looked into his drink.
"And another thing, contrary to public opinion, I am not the arrogant,
self-absorbed, god-like doctor that I appear to be on occasion." At this
point, Julian paused again, and looked up.   "Why don't I hear anyone
objecting to that statement?"

O'Brien raised a finger and joked, "Well, I will if you insist."

The rest of the room chuckled, and Julian countered, "I insist."

"Then I object."

"Thank you, Miles Edward O'Brien."  A slight smile crossed his face, and
Julian continued, "No, I have a heart, and I really care about all of
you, even though sometimes it would appear that I care more about my
work.  To the woman who, ah, taught me that it is sometimes necessary to
say these things, Lisa Cusak."

The occupants of the room echoed the toast, and Chief O'Brien stepped up
next to Julian and began to speak.

"I never shook her hand, and I never saw her face, but she made me
laugh, she made me weep.  She was all by herself, and I was surrounded
by friends, yet I felt more alone than she did..."

Listening to Miles' voice rise and fall, Julian allowed his thoughts to
drift to another, someone who was more important than any of the others
on this room.  The last year had been difficult for all of them, and it
seemed that the more difficult things became, the more he had shut out
the one person he wanted to be with more than anyone... For almost five
years they had been dancing up to a relationship, starting and stopping,
pausing along the way for intense sexual encounters that left both of
them aching for more, and had Julian terrified of what might happen

"To Lisa, and the sweet sound of her voice."  With that, Miles clicked
his glass to Julian's, and lifted it to his mouth.   The slight bump
against his glass brought Julian out of his reverie, and as he realized
that the others were drinking he followed suit, and drained his glass in

Looking over the assembled guests, Julian's thoughts again turned to
Garak.  Hoping that it wasn't too late, Julian pressed his

Crossing to the viewport, he asked the computer to contact Garak. After
a few seconds, Julian was relieved to hear a channel open; he'd been
afraid that the tailor had retired for the evening, or that he was
otherwise occupied.

"This is Garak."

"Garak?  I need to talk to you.  Will you have dinner with me tomorrow?"

Julian heard a deep sigh, and for a long moment, he was sure that Garak
was going to refuse.  After all, it was not the tailor who had caused
the distance between them.  Julian wouldn't have been surprised if Garak
had closed the link between them, refusing to speak to him.  Julian had
just resigned himself to that refusal when he heard Garak reply.

"Yes.  Yes, doctor, I will."

"Good.  I'll call for you at 1900 hours.  Until tomorrow?"

"Yes, until tomorrow."

With a shaking hand, Julian closed the connection, and looked around to
see if anyone had overheard his conversation with the tailor.  Jadzia
smiled in his direction before turning back to speak with Captain Sisko,
but other than that, it seemed that the rest of the officers were more
concerned with their own conversations.  It was just as well - Julian
didn't want to make the effort that conversation would require; it was
enough to be here, with them, knowing that for the moment they were all

Looking out into the void that surrounded the station, comforted by the
easy camaraderie in the room, Julian found himself remembering the last
time that he and Garak had been alone together.  The feelings that he
had experienced that night were like the ones that he was having now -
the belonging, the comfort.  And yet, there had been more, so much
more.  And that was what scared him...

It had been nearly a year ago, before the Dominion and their allies had
retreated to Cardassian space, before the mission to destroy the
Dominion's ketracel white facility, before the deaths of thousands had
burned themselves into his mind and pressed home the truth of his own

Knowing what was coming tomorrow, and knowing that he wanted this, even
if it was only this last time, Julian decided to go to Garak.  Standing
in the narrow hallway, Julian felt oddly vulnerable and exposed - as if
he shouldn't be there.  Shifting from foot to foot, he reached out to
press the enunciator.  Just as he heard Garak's voice calling out
'enter', Jadzia came into the hall.  Julian ducked his head, blushing,
and Jadzia pressed her hand to his shoulder as she passed.  Turning,
Julian met the sympathetic blue eyes of his friend, and knew that she
understood.  He saw that she wouldn't judge him for wanting the warmth
and comfort of another; her smile relaxed him, and took away some of his
apprehensions.  He smiled in return, and turned to the open doorway.

Stepping inside, Julian waited for the door to close before he began to
speak, "Garak, I - "

He was silenced when the Cardassian pushed him into the bulkhead so hard
that his teeth rattled.

Pinning the doctor to the wall with his heavier frame, Garak lowered his
mouth to Julian's in a bruising kiss.  Grasping the doctor's slender
wrists in one hand, the tailor hooked his other hand in the top of the
Starfleet issue uniform and pulled.

The sound of ripping fabric was loud in the tiny cabin, and Julian felt
cool air creeping under his uniform.

Garak released Julian's mouth to move to his neck and the smooth skin
that he had bared when he tore the uniform open.  With a low growl, the
Cardassian sank his teeth into the tendon at the side of the Human's

Gasping, Julian attempted to twist away from the wall, but Garak
tightened his grip on the doctor, and continued to bite and suck the
golden skin beneath his lips.

With a low groan, Julian bucked his hips into Garak's, pressing outwards
into the hardness that he felt there.

Garak's face was mock-stern as he warned, "Hold still, Doctor, or I will
be forced to restrain you."

Julian stilled, and Garak loosened his grip so that he could use both
hands to push the halves of the Starfleet uniform apart.  In one swift
motion, the tailor peeled the doctor's uniform and briefs from his body
and turned him to face the wall.   As Garak pressed his mouth to the
slender spine, he used his hands to push his own trousers from his hips.

With a rough push, Garak entered the younger man. His possessive hands
grasped at slender hips to pull Julian closer.

Julian, unprepared for the sudden entry and the slow sensual spread of
heat that began to radiate from the juncture of their bodies, cried out.

"Am I hurting you?"

Shaking his head, Julian braced his arms against he bulkhead and thrust
back to show that he was all right.  When the tailor showed no signs of
moving, he reached around to touch Garak's flank.

The soft caress was all the encouragement the Cardassian needed.
Gradually, but with ever-increasing speed, he thrust into the velvety
heat of his partner, until Julian cried out and slumped into to a
boneless heap against the wall with the force of his orgasm.
Withdrawing, Garak gathered Julian into his arms and carried him to the

Now that the first frenzy of their lust had passed, the lovers kissed -
a slow, sensual meeting of lips and tongues that was the opposite of
their earlier actions.  With deliberate slowness, Garak removed first
his own clothing, then turned to Julian's.

As he peeled away each piece of clothing, Garak trailed soft kisses over
his lover's heated skin, nipping and sucking at the tender flesh.  As he
passed over Julian's groin, he paused to map the hardness he found there
with his tongue and lips, only pulling away when the younger man's hips
began to thrust insistently upwards.  Pressing the slender hips into the
hardness of the bunk, Garak continued down the long legs, using his
fingers and mouth to search out sensitive areas.

By the time he reached the Starfleet issue boots, Julian was breathless
with anticipation.  "Gods, Garak, I can't wait any longer...please."

Chuckling, Garak first removed the boots, dropping them onto the floor,
before he moved up the lithe body to drop a kiss onto the parted lips,
then moved lower to again tease a reaction from Julian.

"Garak..."  The low tones of his voice gave way to breathy murmurings as
Garak's mouth closed over one of his nipples, causing it to contract
almost painfully.  "Please..."

A slow smile of satisfaction crossed Garak's face as he rolled to lay
behind the younger man.  Reaching around the narrow torso, he wrapped
Julian in a crushing embrace, burying his face in the damp curls at the
base of the slender neck.

With slow pressure, Garak again entered Julian, making love to him with
steady strokes.

"Julian...duyadri...an atov verhave."

Hearing the familiar Cardassian words, Julian felt his heartbeat
quicken.  He knew what they were, had looked them up in the computer
after the first time that Garak had used them.  Dearest.  I love you.
While hearing them sent a warm pulse to his core, the words also sent a
spike of fear into his heart.

Pushing away the fear and telling himself that things said in the heat
of passion didn't count, Julian murmured, "Yes, benim mahiyet...yes,
love me."

Hearing Julian's heated murmurs brought Garak to completion; a few
strokes more, and the doctor was cresting the peak as well.  For many
long minutes, they lay together, breathing the same breath, hearts
beating to the same tempo.  When Garak started to speak, Julian silenced
him with a kiss.

As they parted, all he said was, "Please - don't say it."  Sitting up,
Julian felt around the tiny cabin for his uniform.

"I've already -"  The words were stopped by another kiss.

"If you say it *now* - it's too real, too...damn."  With an impatient
gesture, the doctor rose from the bunk and crossed to the door.

When he realized that the doctor was leaving, Garak closed his eyes,
knowing why.  Quietly, he asked, "Do you have to go?"

Turning to look at the prone form on the bunk, Julian sighed.  "I'm
sorry, Garak.  You know that I can't stay...  If I do, one of us will
say something that we'll regret."

Inside, Garak was crying out 'No!  I'd never regret telling you
*that*.'  Out loud, he only murmured, "I understand."

Julian was bitter as he thought to himself, 'Do you?  Do you know how
badly I want to stay?  Do you know what it costs me to leave?'

To Garak, he only said, "I'm sorry."  Seeing Garak's resigned
expression, he felt a rush of emotion -- it was too intense, too tangled
to sort out, so had he pushed it to the bottom of his heart, and tried
to push Garak out as well, by running away.

He and Garak had barely spoken since then...

Shaking himself out of his reverie, Julian watched the reflected images
of Worf and Jadzia, the Captain and Kassidy.  They looked so happy, so
*right* with each other.  He had only ever felt that way with one
person...Garak.  And now, he was afraid that he had ruined any chance
that he and Garak may have had for happiness.

Closing his eyes against the reflections, he thought to himself, 'Please
- just don't let it be too late.'

* * * * *

Last night, he had been so confident, so sure of what he was going to
say - he'd called Garak up and asked him to dinner - just like that.
After a bit of mingling, he'd left the party.  Miles had seemed worried,
until Julian told him that he just needed to be alone, to think.  While
saying his goodnights, Julian had already begun to plan what he wanted
to say to Garak.  Now however, it seemed that the words that he
had practiced had flown away, and all he could do was rattle on about
ancient Earth culture...

"I, for one, think that the Greek culture had far more in common with
the Cardassian culture than you are willing to admit."

Smiling indulgently at his dinner companion, Elim Garak exclaimed, "My
dear Doctor, I fail to see how you can draw parallels between the
pitiful efforts of an ancient Earth culture to rule over the other
savages and the magnificent achievements of the Cardassian peoples.
There is no comparison...you would be wasting your time."

Surprise washed over the golden features of the young doctor.  "Garak!
How can you say that?  The Greeks were considered to be an enlightened
people...I was merely pointing out that there are parallels to be drawn
between the two.  For example...."

As Julian launched into his arguments, Garak followed what was being
said with only part of his mind.  Another part was occupied in trying to
figure out what was going on...  He was still trying to puzzle out the
reason for the doctor's sudden resurgence of interest.  He could hardly
believe that Julian had called him up, 'out of the blue' as the humans
said, to talk about ancient Earth cultures.

True, in the past, he and Julian had shared many pleasant hours in each
others company, but that had not been the case for many months...  In
fact, the last time that they had been together, Julian had left rather
abruptly.  At the time, Garak lied to himself, and attributed it to a
fear of discovery, but he had since decided that honesty, at least with
himself, had its merits.  Julian had fled because he was afraid of
facing the situation.

Now that was a sobering thought - something about him was frightening to
the doctor.  He didn't think that it had anything to do with the fact
that he was a Cardassian, or with the fact that he was a man, either.
It had to do with the fact that Julian couldn't, or wouldn't,
acknowledge his own feelings...

At any rate, it had been so long since their last contact that Garak had
given up on the doctor, and had began to try and forget him...but
Julian's call the previous evening had set off a bloom of hope in
Garak's chest -- sharp and sweet and painful in its intensity.
Nervousness had set in shortly after, making him feel like a much
younger version of himself.  He had to know...

Even if Julian didn't share his feelings, it would be better for the
tailor's peace of mind, knowing that he had taken the chance.  He was
growing tired of the on again, off again nature of their relationship -
he needed to know that Julian was going to be with him, not off with
another lover.  In the past, Garak had allowed Julian to set the pace,
and when the younger man came to him, the tailor never dared to hope
that finally this time would be the time that he stayed.  After too many
times to count Garak had had enough.  But he had no idea how to express
what he was feeling, so thus far, he had kept silent, hoping that their
conversation would present an opening…


Upon hearing his name, the tailor looked up, realizing that Julian had
finished and was waiting for an answer to his statements.  As he focused
on the animated face of the doctor, Garak was once again surprised by
what he saw there.  Dark, soft curls framed the angular face, and at
this late hour, a shadowy stubble played about his mouth and cheeks,
making him look slightly unkempt.  The red shirt that he wore was one
Garak's favorites - he had given it to the doctor as a birthday gift
last year, knowing that the deep tone would accentuate his golden skin
and hazel eyes.  Beautiful...

"Garak? You've been awfully quiet this evening.  Is there something

Having seen no easy way to broach the subject, Garak decided that direct
honesty would be best, and he forged ahead.  "Doctor, I need to know -
why did you ask me to dinner?"

An earnest frown creased Julian's forehead as he replied,  "I - I need
to tell you something...but first I want to ask you something."

"As always, Doctor, you may ask me anything."

"What were you going to tell me that night on the Defiant when I kissed

Garak didn't need to ask for clarification; he knew exactly what the
doctor was referring to.  The question wasn't whether he remembered or
not - instead, it was whether he wanted to reveal himself in such a
manner.  Still, it was apparent that Julian had some idea of what Garak
was going to say.  Now it was only a matter of confirming the doctor's
suspicions.  Taking a deep breath, Garak looked up...

...and into Julian's questioning eyes.   Seeing the frank honesty there,
Garak almost lost his nerve.  He looked down into his glass of kanaar,
and then back up to the doctor's face, and said,  "Julian, I was going
to say 'I love you', but you never gave me the chance."

At that moment, Julian's mind went into overload.  'Did Garak just say
that he loved me?' Hearing it aloud again was such a relief, after
hearing it in his head it for all these months, that he began to giggle.

As Julian's laughter began to increase in volume, Garak asked, "Julian,
my dear, are you quite alright?"

At the words 'Julian, my dear', the doctor's laughter died.  Flushing a
deep red, he dropped his eyes to the table.

An uncomfortable silence fell over the table, and Julian began to
fidget, moving his fork around on the tablecloth, folding and re-folding
his napkin.

As the silence stretched, Garak began to debate the wisdom of having
revealed himself.  Becoming defensive, Garak fell back on what he knew
best - a question. "Julian?  Surely I haven't taken you by surprise?
Don't tell me that you didn't know?  Why else did you silence me?"

All the doctor could say was, "I knew."

Exhibiting the bad timing that he was notorious for, Quark bustled up,
asking, "Will there be anything else for you two this evening?"

Two voices answered at once.  "No!"  "No thank you, Quark."

"Was your dinner satisfactory?  Garak, how was the kanaar?"

Julian, suspecting that Quark had overheard their conversation, and
wanting to get rid of the Ferengi and his prying eyes, quickly answered,
"Fine, Quark, everything was fine, thank you."

Garak, more in control of himself, and not wanting to appear rude,
answered, "Yes, Quark, the kanaar was excellent, as usual.  Why, I do
believe that you have improved when it comes to cooking Cardassian
dishes as well."

Quark smiled at this, and gave a slight bow, saying , "Thank you,
Garak.  Well if that's all, gentlemen, I'll say goodnight."

Watching Quark retreat, Garak gathered his thoughts, and turned to the
doctor.  Picking up where the conversation had left off, Garak said,
"Then why ask me what I was going to say?"

"Because it makes it easier for me to say what I have to say."

Irritation crossed the tailor's face as he replied, "I'm afraid I don't
follow you...what makes it easier?"

"Knowing that you -" Looking sideways at the Cardassian, Julian
continued with, "you know-"

"No, I'm afraid that I don't know."  Disgusted with himself for saying
too much, and with Julian for being unable to repeat it, Garak decided
to cut his losses, and leave before the situation degenerated into an

Throwing his napkin onto the table, Garak rose from his chair and turned
to leave, but was stopped by Julian's hand on his wrist.

Knowing that Quark, and many of the bar's patrons were looking on,
Julian made a decision, and said, "Don't go."

Garak looked down at his arm, now enclosed by the doctor's slender
fingers.  As the tailor looked up, his eyes darkened and he hissed,
"Julian, unless you want the whole station to be discussing this, you
should let go of my arm."

Julian continued to hold onto Garak's arm, tugging the Cardassian
forward as he spoke.  "I don't *care* if the whole station is talking
about it.  I want you to stay.  Please?"

At this point, Garak's face was only centimeters from Julian's.  Bracing
his free hand on the table, the tailor looked into Julian's eyes,
searching for a clue to the doctor's feelings.  Seeing a barely
concealed panic and confusion, he let go of his anger and said, "I'll
stay...and talk."

As soon as the older man spoke, Julian closed the gap between them, and
placed his lips to Garak's in a chaste kiss.  The contact was electric.
Caught up in the moment Julian snaked his tongue forward to caress the
Cardassian's cool lips, and he could taste the bittersweet flavor of the
kanaar that Garak had drunk with his dinner, and below that the subtle
spices left behind by his Cardassian meal.  The feel of Garak's lips
against his own was better than he remembered, and he tried to deepen
the kiss.

When Julian grew more insistent, and opened his lips against the
tailor's, Garak pushed him gently away.  Seeing the doctor's hurt look,
Garak thought to himself, once again, that humans were too thin-skinned,
and emotional.  To ease the sting of his rebuff, he smiled, and
admonished the doctor with, "No, my dear Julian...Quark's is hardly the
place for such a kiss.  Don't you agree?"  Seeing Julian nod, however
reluctantly, he continued, "I that I've changed my mind about staying.
Shall we go somewhere more private?"

Julian looked up into Garak's eyes, wondering what he was thinking, and
said, "Yes, I think I'd like that."

Placing his napkin on the table, Julian stood and pushed in his chair.
When he turned to walk to the door, Garak remained behind, watching the
doctor walk away.  Noticing that he was alone, Julian stopped, returned
to the table, and grasped Garak's hand.

In the wake of the sudden hush that washed over Quark's, Garak and
Julian exited onto the Promenade.  Passing the shops and restaurants,
neither spoke; both were lost in their own thoughts and tangled

As the pair entered the corridor that led to the habitat ring, they met
Major Kira and Constable Odo.   The Cardassian tried to pull his hand
from the doctor's as soon as he saw who they were approaching, but
Julian only tightened his grip on Garak's fingers.

Odo nodded.  "Mr. Garak, Doctor Bashir."

Striving to appear nonchalant about the fact that the doctor still held
his hand, Garak answered, "Why, Major Kira, Constable Odo.  What brings
you onto the Promenade this evening?"

"We were just going to Quark's for some dinner.  Would you care to join
us?"  This was from Kira, whose eyebrows had nearly met her hairline
when she noticed that Garak's hand was enfolded within Julian's long

The raised eyebrows didn't escape the notice of the tailor, who frowned
in response.

When Garak didn't answer, Julian replied, "Thank you, no, we've just
finished.  Perhaps the next time?"

A knowing smile crossed the Constable's face.  "Yes, perhaps the next
time...Nerys?" Odo offered his arm to the Major, who took it.  Nodding
to Garak and Julian, he said, "Have a pleasant evening."

Julian only nodded and smiled, while Garak returned their wishes for a
good evening.

As the two couples parted company, Julian was sure that he heard the
words 'Captain Sisko' and 'tell him' from Kira; the Constable merely
shook his head, and then Kira and Odo rounded the corner, and Julian
couldn't hear anymore.  For a moment, Julian was torn between wanting to
run after Kira, to explain, and wanting to get Garak back to his
quarters.  Staring after the pair, he decided that Odo would ensure the
Major's discretion.  Shrugging, Julian turned, and continued in the
direction he and the tailor had been going before.

The two men walked down the hall, not speaking, passing other
inhabitants of the station with a nod, or a smile.   Walking through the
deserted habitat ring seemed to take longer than usual, and just when
Garak was beginning to think that the corridor had somehow grown in
length, he and Julian arrived at the doctor's quarters.  Keying the
lock, Julian said, "I hope that you don't mind that we've come to my

"No, my dear, I'd like to think that it wouldn't make any difference
where we were.  This is fine."

Hearing this made Julian a bit nervous, but he pulled Garak inside his
quarters as the door opened.  Once inside, Julian released the tailor's
hand, and Garak walked to the viewport to look out at the stars.

Needing something to do with his hands, Julian crossed to the
replicator, and ordered a cup of tea. Turning to the tailor, he asked,
"Would you like anything?"

"No...I'm fine, thank you."

Crossing to stand behind the Cardassian, Julian's attention was caught
by the luminescent blue glow of the wormhole.  Watching the blue
highlights fading from the jet black hair in front of him, Julian took
was struck again with the alien beauty of the Cardassian.  The swept
back hair outlined a delicate ear, and laid against the intricate
pattern of scales on the thick neck.  As his eyes dropped lower, the
doctor realized that Garak had lost weight - deciding that it looked
good on him, Julian continued to stare at the Cardassian's back, willing
him to talk, to say something, anything that would make this easier.

'He's not going to say anything more, Jules.  Face it - he may have
loved you once - but that was then.'  Julian felt tears well up in his
eyes, and he forced them down, angry at himself for his fears.

Before he knew he was going to say it, Julian blurted out.  "I do love
you...I - I just wanted you to know that.   I'm an idiot - I never
should have left you.  I know that it's probably too late to start
again, but I wanted to tell you before -"

"It's not too late."

"Before you're gone forever, and I..."  Julian trailed off as he
realized what Garak had said.  "What did you say?"

"I said, 'it's not too late'."  As he spoke, Garak turned to Julian.
Seeing a single tear suspended on Julian's lashes, the Cardassian
reached out to catch it on the end of his finger.  "It's not too late."

Julian could only stare at Garak, dumbstruck, as the tailor reached out
to caress the tumbled curls at the doctor's temple.  Julian's eyes
closed in pleasure, and he swayed towards Garak.  With a sigh, Garak's
hand traveled from the doctor's hair, and along his cheek and jaw to
come to rest on Julian's shoulder.  Pulling him gently forward, Garak
pressed his lips to Julian's, murmuring once again, "It's not too late."


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