Bashir tells stories about his secret relationship with Garak. (G/B. Written for LJ comm 5_nevers.)
by dilly r
You waited for me outside of the infirmary that night.
I said: "If I'd known you were waiting on me, I'd--"
You interrupted: "I don't mind waiting. And besides, you couldn't drag me back into that infirmary."
I laughed, because it was polite to pretend it was a joke, and I was trying to play the game more like you did in those days. I asked you what you wanted, and you said that you'd walk me back to my quarters. I didn't ask why.
We talked about the novel you'd given me a few days prior, Meditations on a Crimson Shadow. I wasn't finished with it yet, but I liked the characters, especially Gul Goriel.
"I suspected as much," you said, smiling. "He lacks pride, ambition, nationalism... A very flawed character."
I rolled my eyes. "He's a good deal more interesting than that lot in Never Ending Page Count."
For a moment, I thought I'd offended you. I never did learn to decipher your silences with any accuracy, though, and I'm still not sure why you didn't say anything else until we reached my quarters. I stood there, acutely aware of the arrangement of every part of my body, not quite sure where my hands should go or how straight my back should be.
"Well, here we are," I said, using my Doctor Voice to give a false sense of confidence. "Are you going to tell me what's going on, or should I start guessing now?"
You looked at me for a long time, not saying anything. I couldn't see your eyes under the shadows your ridges cast. I was sure, at that point, that I'd managed to deeply offend you. I opened my mouth to apologize, but you kissed me before I could. Not a long kiss. Of course, we were still in public, though I'm absolutely positive you'd made sure no one was around to see for those few seconds. Somehow, you made sure.
"Doctor," you said, your voice more deep and even than usual. "Do you mind if I come in?"
I couldn't manage a vocal answer. I just opened my door.
It was night when you and Odo came back from the Gamma Quadrant. I'd spent the past few hours staring at the ceiling, following the line and curve of it with my eyes, but when I heard the door slide open, I pretended to be asleep. You didn't bother to take off your clothes -- unlike you, I thought -- and you slid into bed next to me. I turned toward you, faking a sleepy moan, and you put your arms around me. You held me against my chest like you were in the middle of the see, clinging to the side of a lifeboat.
"Are you okay?" I asked. Too quietly.
At first, I wasn't sure you'd heard me, but you finally answered, "Not particularly." You faked a conversational tone fairly well, considering.
I angled my head up so I could look at you. I wished I could see your face a little better, but I didn't think I should raise the lights. "What happened?"
You didn't answer. I hadn't really been expecting you to; not really. I didn't expect you to stay either, but you did do that. For the first time, you slept next to me until morning.
I rested my head on your bicep and pretended that you were soaking in all of the best parts of me so maybe you could feel a little better tomorrow.
"It's time to cut our losses," you said.
I'd really never expected the holosuite to play host to one of our more heated arguments. I still wonder if you only showed up to ridicule my espionage fantasy. You'll have to tell me one day.
"We can't do that. Kira and Dax might be..."
I could see that you were getting impatient with me. And, if I may say so, a bit scared we were both going to die. "Yes, they might be killed, and that is unfortunate. But there comes a point when the odds are against you and the only reasonable course of action..." You paused. I swear that you were looking for something in my eyes. I can only assume that you found it. "The only reasonable course of action is to go on a fool's mission to save two people who hate and ignore me respectively."
"Well. They like /me/. That'll have to do," I said, grinning. "You know I'd do the same for you. Even if you wouldn't for me."
"Don't be sure of that, Doctor. At this rate, you'll have me entirely corrupted with your altruistic nonsense by the end of the week."
P.S. Don't worry. I didn't tell anyone you almost betrayed them. Anyway, I would've shot you if you tried.
P.P.S. I'm glad I didn't have to.
When they shoved you into that prison cell, I didn't know whether to kiss you or throw something at you for getting yourself stuck in that horrible place. In the end, I didn't really have to decide, because Tain spoke first.
"My message couldn't have reached you yet," he grumbled from his cot.
Your eyes widened when you saw him. "Tain. You're alive."
"You didn't get his message?" I asked. Tain mumbled something about his having just said that and my being an idiot Human, but I spoke over him. "Then how did you get here?"
"The Changeling who replaced you wasn't very convincing. Or, he didn't convince me once I cornered him into explaining why you were avoiding me." You shook your head. "You should look for a new group of friends. He's been plenty of time with them, and none of them--"
You didn't finish your sentence because I'd decided I did, in fact, want to kiss you.
I wonder what Tain thought of it.
Once all of it was over, there wasn't much to stick around Deep Space Nine for. Most of my friends were gone, my little affair with Ezri turned out to be even littler than I'd imagined it would be, and something was missing from the "frontier medicine" I'd come for. I read report after report on the situation on Cardassia. Never enough supplies, and when there were, never enough qualified practitioners to apply them. I don't know how much information you were getting down there in the middle of it, but projections were that Cardassia would lose as many lives as they did in the war within a few years -- this time to untreated injuries and diseases instead of to the Dominion.
I thought I could sit back on my comfortable station and watch from afar, doing the kind of research I'd only dreamt I'd be able to do and rebuilding my reputation in Starfleet despite my... difference.
I thought I could, but I couldn't.
So, I gave my resignations: to Starfleet, and then a personal one to Colonel Kira. (You should've seen the look on her face. I think you would've appreciated it.) I sent you a letter, then I got on a transport ship -- one so old and decrepit that I was sure we would more likely crash into a star than manage to reach our destination, but it was getting harder and harder to find anyone going to Cardassia from the station.
I couldn't believe that you were waiting for me when I beamed down. I threw my arms around you and kissed you right on the mouth, and I'm not sorry for it -- even if you were half as embarrassed as you looked.
And you looked beautiful, so I said so. Then I said that I'd missed you.
You chuckled, and you slid your hand around mine, pressing our palms together the way you did so long ago when you thought you were dying. "I'm glad you came. I would have asked you, if I'd thought there was a chance."
"It would've been a shame," I said. "If we'd both stayed where we were, too damned afraid of each other to admit we still wanted each other around."
"Perhaps this is the beginning of a braver us," you said, smiling.
I don't know where to send this. I'm not even entirely sure why I wrote it. I'm sure that, if you ever read it, you'll decide that all that hope you'd had for me yet was for naught. My lies will never match up to yours. Perhaps I should have simply written a mundane message asking where you are, asking you to reply if you find this, telling you that I'm worried.
But you told me that there is truth in lies. Maybe I thought if I wrote enough of them down, I'd figure out what truth I'm hiding in them.
You see, today I received word that you have died.
I have a few contacts on Cardassia now, and I've been keeping up with you as best I can. No one seems to know exactly where you are, not since you've started this new business with the new government. And now, my contacts say you've managed to get yourself killed.
I shouldn't be surprised.
Maybe I wrote all of these lies because, if I can lie, maybe my contacts are lying too. Maybe it's miscommunication or unintentional lying, but it might not be the truth. You don't believe in truth, do you? There is nothing about you that was true. Why should I believe your death is?
Don't laugh at me, Garak. I'll fool myself in whatever clumsy way I want to.
Because if I stop fooling myself, I'll just have to admit that I wrote this because I thought it would be a fitting tribute to the man who was my friend all that time ago. That I could write down all the lies of our secret romance that never was, and it would be enough to bring you back.
Because if I stop, I'll have to admit this is just the only way I could think of to say goodbye.
So. With the least amount of sincerity I can muster.
Your dear doctor
P.S. If you're reading this, Garak, let me see you again so that maybe I don't have to make up all of our happy endings.