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st - garak/bashir, ds9 - garak, ds9 - garak/bashir

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Star Trek DS9, Garak/Bashir)

Written somewhat in the 5+1 style, although due to some personal OCD I can only do 4+1, and here it ended up more like 3+2.

Title: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
Author: Renata Lord (snowlight)
Pairing: Garak/Bashir
Rating: R
Word Count: ~2,200
Disclaimer: Not mine don't sue etc.
Note: Many thanks to tli who did a painstaking and thorough beta job, and to dissociate who tossed ideas around with me. This can be read as a sequel to An Indecent Proposal, but it's fine standing alone. Mostly post-canon.

i.

It wasn't quite the same as waking up and finding one's self quite inexplicably an inmate in a Dominion maximum security prison, but Julian did feel like his eyes were going to pop out when he heard Garak calling a dying Enabran Tain "father."

At once, he was torn between the acute awareness that he was intruding on something supremely private and his unfortunate curiosity regarding all things Elim Garak. Yet he did not have a choice in the matter, or so he told himself—Tain was blind, not deaf.

He wasn't sure why Garak wanted him here, wasn't even sure that he wanted to be here. Holding his breath for what seemed like an eternity, Julian tried to melt into the shadows in the corner. Garak did most of the talking, but Tain's admission at the end made it a last confession.

This was not how he wanted to find out about Garak's secrets.

It was not until years later, after Dr. Bashir opened a two-men clinic on the still-rebuilding Cardassia Prime, did he begin to truly comprehend the significance of the deathbed gathering.

He wondered what was Garak thinking back then. He didn't ask.

ii.

Depending on the story and the occasion, Mila Jaxinx was either Elim Garak's mother, stepmother, aunt, wet nurse, or just some really awful cook who was lethal with the zabo meat. Julian suspected that had the Cardassians bothered to celebrate something as maudlin as Administrative Assistant's Day, Garak would have told him that Mila was Tain's secretary, on top of all things.

But when Garak first took him to visit Mila's grave, she was introduced as his mother, and Julian decided to accept this version as the tentative truth. Garak had certainly honored her as only a son would have, and in the quieter moments, when Garak's childhood stories were not so outrageously colored by whim and fancy, Mila always hovered in the background—stern but warm, with a pair of hands that healed all wounds. Bloodline or not, Julian thought, that was more than enough.

So he remembers to thank Mila as he hands a carefully wrapped birthday present to his lover. It's Garak's forty-seventh birthday, the fifth they have celebrated together. "I'm grateful she brought you into this world…although the world at large may feel otherwise," he ends playfully with a cough.

Garak smiles with that wounded innocence he knows all too well.

"Really now, my dear, why would you accuse the poor woman of such a terrible thing? You never had to taste her sem'hal stew."

Instead of protesting, Julian Bashir kisses that lying mouth over the wine.

"Well, I'm grateful that you survived her sem'hal stew, too."

As they turn to leave for the bedroom, he casts a last glance at the wall fixture hanging right above Garak's private console station. It's a small picture of Mila, one of the few things Garak managed to salvage from Tain's old residence.

Like his Elim, Mila had eyes of azure.

iii.

It doesn't happen often, but once in a while the smooth veneer threatens to peel away and Julian is reminded of the fact that for all of his practiced gentility, Garak is a Cardassian man, with all those reptilian instincts intact.

He feels Garak's tongue lapping at the side of his neck, as if searching for the ridges which are not there. He quivers, his body tight and warm in the slithering darkness.

"Julian." Garak says his name as if it's a benediction. Wet breath against his skin, making his blood tingle. "Julian. B'el-dacar."

Teeth have replaced tongue at his neck, with slow, almost dainty nips. However, Julian knows better by now than to mistaken the gesture for playfulness or even indulgent affection. His shoulders feel the full force of Garak's fingers, and the guttural sound coming from Garak's throat now is almost frightening. But his lover is still holding onto the façade of control, however tenuously.

Julian bucks his hips, once.

—and is met with resolute violence. Garak's solid weight slams back onto him, pinning him down like he's a rag doll. He almost groans in pain when he suddenly realizes that Garak's lips and teeth have move down a little, just far away enough from the internal carotid arteries.

"It's okay, Elim," he promises with all the confidence in the world that he doesn't feel. "Go ahead. You won't hurt me."

iv.

It started off innocent, inconspicuous. Dr. Bashir received two new patients in his clinic who were eager to make appointments and showed up with typical unfailing Cardassian punctuality. They lingered in the rooms a little longer than the usual patients, but Bashir chalked that up to harmless curiosity. After all, for better or worse, he'd become a sort of bona fide celebrity in these quarters of the Cardassian capital. People whispered when they thought he couldn't hear them, but they tended to forget that humans had better hearing than Cardassians.

No degree of dubious celebrity, however, could explain why he was starting to get followed outside of his clinic. Julian couldn't be certain of it, but he'd been in enough dangerous situations to trust his instincts in matters of safety. Over the course of a few days he tried the usual tricks taught at Starfleet Academy's anti-recon seminars, but the shadows followed him seamlessly like they were his own.

He didn't want to get Elim involved if it could be avoided, but the unfortunate fact remained that he had little leverage of his own on this planet. Garak had been apologetic about this from the very beginning, and it wasn't like he came into this arrangement with the so-called "insufferable Federation optimism", yet sometimes Julian Bashir couldn't help but wishing he still had "his people" behind him while on Cardassia.

Garak, for once, did not take the news well. Oh sure, he smiled and reassured Julian that it was all a simple misunderstanding, something he would have sorted out as soon as he contacted the relevant authorities. Yet Julian noticed the cold glint in those eyes, as he had come to read Garak better through the wisdom of years.

He didn't ask Garak about it right then, didn't ask when the shadows receded from his days. But much later, on a random evening, he dropped the question in the midst of a dinner conversation about post-Surak Vulcan literature. ("For the most part it's perfectly dreadful and monumentally boring, my dear, there is neither finesse nor what you call chutzpah to it.")

Garak blinked at the question. He did not offer the usual platitudes.

"Oh, it had nothing to do with you, my dear. Rest assured that you were never in any danger. They were merely considering offering me a new job." Garak waved a hand vaguely. "And they questioned the prudence of giving it to someone with, ah, offplanet attachments."

Julian frowned and put down his fork. "But you're a hero of the Liberation."

"It was a sensitive position." Garak shrugged, reaching for more yamok sauce. "At first I was disturbed that they chose to investigate you without informing me first, but in retrospect it was exactly what I would have done. In any case, I told them that I was not interested in the position, thus their little investigation was no longer necessary."

There was nothing to be said in reply to that. For all of Elim Garak's near-fanatical love for Cardassia, he had also chosen to marry a retired Starfleet officer who steadfastly refused to become Cardassian. Federation and Cardassia had an uneasy peace these days, but even an optimist like Julian could see that their shallow alliance did not have to be permanent. In the darker moments of doubt, he wondered just how much Garak was willing to sacrifice for his beloved Union.

"They wanted you for the new Obsidian Order, didn't they?" He sighed in spite of himself as the realization washed over him like a cold waterfall. "They wanted someone experienced, and they thought you and Tain hated each other, which was perfect after the Omarion Nebula."

"Like I said, my dear, I declined," said Garak with a casual airiness. "I have no interest in it."

Julian had to give pause.

"You can't expect me to believe that," he finally managed. "They might buy it, but not me."

Garak didn't seem disturbed in the least by the hidden accusation.

"Is it really so difficult to believe that I would refrain from putting myself into a position you could never make peace with? No. Somebody who is not married to Dr. Julian Bashir can do that job equally well. I am content with my current responsibilities." The Cardassian took up a piece of cloth and wiped his mouth delicately. "And I see you have finished your food. Would you like something for dessert?"

v.

Small red flower buds begin to appear on the mezlah trees, and the courting sounds of kophi birds can be heard in the clear morning air. This year's summer, Julian notes with a tinge of regret, is already here.

Of course, he had calculated this date far in advance and made all the necessary arrangements for the clinic. Like every year, he informed Garak as soon as he figured out the date. Like every year, they chose to not talk about it and carried on with business as usual.

With the clinic already in the capable hands of Dr. Rugin, there is little to do except to pack, which Julian does efficiently. There isn't much to carry with him aside from a few new outfits that Garak managed to make for him in his rare free time. His medical notes would only get confiscated if he tried to bring them out of Cardassia, and as for personal effects, Julian Bashir has everything he requires back on Deep Space Nine.

Well, everything except for Garak.

Four months away from the planet every solar year. No Garak. No clinic. No Cardassians. Four months free to do almost whatever he pleased in Bajor or, even better, Federation space. That was a part of the deal when he ultimately said yes to Garak's audacious proposal, because Julian Bashir would not allow himself to be swallowed up whole by Cardassia, just as no force in the entire Federation could have hauled Elim Garak back to Deep Space Nine after the Dominion War.

It was the right thing to do. It still is the right thing to do. Yet all the jokes about the horrid Cardassian summer weather can't change the fact that every year, it gets a little harder for him to depart from this world. For his first leave, Julian practically bolted into the transporter with bright-eyed excitement about going back to Earth and doing guest research at the Academy while visiting Miles. This year, however, for the first time he lingered long after he packed his case. In the end, Julian chose to leave late in the evening. He wanted to wait for Garak to return home to say good-bye.

The man is standing in the doorway now, regarding him with some surprise. Those blue eyes light up momentarily, but the familiar mask slips back in place when Garak drops his eyes to see the small luggage laying just behind the door.

"Ah, my dear. I see you are all ready to go."

Julian grins and walks up to Garak, closing the distance between them. They press their palms together in Cardassian greeting, then he tilts his head for a small human kiss.

"Yes," he murmurs, without conviction. "I took a bottle of the best kanar wine you got last month, too. Don't bother looking for it."

Garak arches an eyebrow primly as if in reproach. "Larceny aside, I am glad to see that the beverage is, as you say, ‘growing on you.' Have a safe sojourn, b'el-dacar."

The human smiles at the formal endearment. The universal translator, when he still used it, always refused to translate that word. My Chosen. Garak hasn't let go of him despite the parting greeting, and he indulges himself to stay in the light embrace.

"Property laws must be respected, Elim. It's hardly larceny when I'm just taking what's mine." Julian plants another kiss, this time on the smooth ridges just below one eye. "If only I could fit you into my luggage, b'el-tesin, I would take you with me, too."

Garak is uncharacteristically silent.

The sun has retreated, and the evening air is cool between their breaths. For a moment he is afraid that Elim might ask him to stay here and weather the dreadful Cardassian summer, to see the mezlah trees in full bloom.

Elim's Cardassia is not his home yet, and perhaps it would never be. But there would always be another autumn, another winter, and another spring.

Until then, Julian Bashir will keep on returning to this planet, like he first did six years ago when he stepped off the transporter and into the arms of Elim Garak.

*

Finis

Postscript: I want to explain why Julian had the rigid schedule of leaving Cardassia and Garak for a period of four months each year, as opposed to just hopping off Cardassia whenever he wished. There are a number of reasons—security concerns on the Cardassian side, given Julian's relationship with Garak; the fact that Julian runs a clinic with regular patients who depend on him for medium-to-long-term treatments; and most importantly, as much as Julian loves Garak, he refuses to be completely uprooted and transplanted to Cardassia. I hope I have explained this in the fic itself adequately. For what it's worth, I do think Julian and Cardassia would eventually accommodate each other enough to do away with the practice. (Alas, I am an incurable romantic.)

Comments

Loved this so much. A different and interesting take on Garak and Bashir post-series life. Very well written and very touching. Thanks for sharing.
A very good take on post-season relations, well done! They love each other, but not enough to fully trust each other.

Oh lovely! I got all sniffly when Garak's eyes lit up in the hope that this time, Julian might stay.

Wonderful fic! A little sad, but so full of love. :oD
Oh... I love this. You've got an amazing knack for capturing their voices.

Fantastic story. :)
I liked the summer leave, actually. Made the relationship more complicated and the whole thing is like an inverse-Persephone myth. So glad that you did this.
Yes Persephone! I was totally thinking of her when I wrote it. :D :D :D I've came a cross a number of variations of that myth (most of them whitewashing the non-con...), but I think the inverse one fits here.
I love this so much. I love the idea that even though they love each other there's always that issue of trust between them.
Also, the idea that Julian hasn't completely given up his previous life ^_^

Oh and don't worry, I'm an incurable romantic as well XD
I think they trust each other in the general sense. They just need to pay attention to the details. XD

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
You have such a nice, deft touch with Garak's layers and Julian's moral core. I can easily see the two of them making such an arrangement post-series. Julian is too independent ever fully to subsume himself to the life and schedule of another, and I think Garak is too wise ever actually to ask. Really well done.
This was really lovely! Your turns of phrase are beautiful. And Julian leaving every summer reminds me a bit of Persephone, spending part of her time in the underworld and part of it on Earth.
Beautiful story...you are a very talented writer!
True relationships are all about compromise and that's what these two have finally got down and what they always seem to fail to do in many other fics. Poor Mr garak *grins slyly**sings* Doesn't wannna be... ALL BYYY HIMSEEELFFFF!!!! XDXDXD I'm sorry I'll stop thats not helping. *skulks of to hide in corner in embarrassment*
lovely fic!

M
I think you have embarrassed him to death now.

OT but, I think I changed my mind about Garak's taste in clothing. I really hated that purple-orange outfit he worn in the infirmity, but then I realized it was standard infirmary patient clothing...well either that or him and Kira were doing it (b/c Kira wore the same thing in another episode).

(Anonymous)

Meteors reply

His clothes get better over the series. He always looks good in the dark colours like the greens and blacks. Maybe its just a Cardassian thing cause Damar looks SEXEEEY in the dark colours too. XD
dukat can get away with Bajoran-y oranges though as he's as thin as a rake- an anorexic rake- so he can pull of the cuts better. ... ohh look at me all fashiony! I think Mr Garak's tailory-ness is rubbing off on me.
Ohh yeah by the way I might be going to meet Andy Robinson!

M

Re: Meteors reply

Ohh yeah by the way I might be going to meet Andy Robinson!

What. What. WHATTTTT. Just. WHAT. HOW. HOW.

I am not coherent right now and I BLAME YOU.

TELL MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!