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Subject: {ASSM} "What We Shared" (ST; G/B, PG)
Date: Sat,  4 May 2002 05:10:02 -0400
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Title: What We Shared
Author: Cait N. 
Series: DS9
Pairing: B/E, G/B (implied) 
Rating: PG
Beta: dilly
Feedback: Please! Alicat@netdot.com
Website: http://www.asstr.org/~CaitN

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, I just take 'em out
for a spin every once in a while.

Summary: Garak sees an old friend on the street and recalls
happier times. Takes place approximately 21 years after the end
of the Dominion War.

Author's Note #1:  Inspired by Ainz's beautifully written Post
War Cardassian Streets Series. You can find it at:
http://www.ainzfern.com 

Author's Note #2: This is the first story in my new Full
Circle series. Hopefully it's worth continuing.

= = = = = = = = 
I wonder what you'll say if we meet 
On the street one day years from now, 
Maybe you'll need time to recall
Oh but I won't need any time at all...

"What We Shared"
copyright May 2002 by Cait N.


Pacifica in the spring was about as close to the blessed
afterlife as you could get. At least it was to Garak. The
temperature was just right, the humidity not too oppressive and
the sun shone all day long. He strolled down Anemone Boardwalk,
taking in the sights, smells and sounds. It had been several
years since he'd taken the time to travel offworld; he was
jokingly referred to by his few acquaintances as a 'recluse.'
What people said about him didn't matter, it never had. 

He caught a glimpse, just a token sighting; a reflection in a
storefront window. He spun around, breath caught in his throat,
berating his mind for playing tricks on him. The resemblance was
unnerving. He leaned against the building, lost in time as more
than thirty years of memories washed over him.

He recalled the first day they'd met and the weeks afterward --
the wary looks, the heated debates, the long dinners. The first
time they'd confessed how they felt about each other, the first
time they'd made love.

Garak shook his head as he recollected his brief infatuation
with Zyial, the hurt in his lover's eyes and his eventual return
to grace.

There were the final days of the Dominion War, the time when he
wasn't sure from one minute to the next if he'd come out of it
alive. The triumphant victory that he'd wished Damar had lived
to celebrate.

Then. . . his decision to help rebuild Cardassia, leaving
behind the station and everyone he held dear. It had been almost
twenty-six years since his decision to leave, and there wasn't a
day that went by that he didn't regret that decision in one way
or another.

His former lover had visited him on Cardassia once, had been
there to help with the relief effort. Garak had met him for
dinner one night, good food accompanied by awkward silences and
half-hearted attempts at conversation. Too much had been left
unsaid and Garak had cried into his pillow that night, alone.

But now. . . now, he wished for so much more.

He shook off his musings with an embarrassed laugh. //See one
person with an uncanny resemblance and you're off on a
tangent,// he chided himself.  He continued his stroll along the
sidewalk, trying to concentrate on the wares in the shop
windows, but his eyes kept wandering to the vision in blue.

As he got closer, Garak could see the tinges of gray and white
at the temples, the slightly stooped shoulders, the gauntness
that comes from too much work and not enough play. 

He raised his head, and Garak knew. The eyes! He could never
forget those eyes. Garak stopped in his tracks, wondering at the
cruel whims of fate. Why here, why now after so many years? 

Julian smiled at him, slow and sweet. It took Garak's breath
away. "Julian?" Even with the evidence staring right back at
him, a part was afraid to believe it was really him.

"Hello Garak."  

The voice was as cultured and melodic as Garak remembered.
"How. . . What?" For once words failed him.

"There's a xenopsychology symposium at the Regency Hotel this
weekend. I'm chairing a panel on -" he stopped to smile.
"Cardassians."

Garak couldn't contain a wry chuckle. "I guess they wanted the
best," he complimented.

"Maybe not the best, but undeniably the most prolific." Julian
cocked his head to one side. "What brings you here?"

"I've retired from government and decided to take a vacation."
It was the most unlikely reason Garak could have thought of, and
it was true.

Julian just nodded, staring into his eyes.

"I'm sorry," Garak blurted out. 

Julian's smile was tender and a just a bit sad. "I know. I
think I've always known. You had a choice between me and
Cardassia, and I always knew who the winner would be." He put
his hand on Garak's shoulder. "I forgave you years ago, Garak.
I'm just sorry you couldn't forgive yourself."

"I could have done more, I *should* have done more. I should
have insisted you come with me." He sighed, a tired old man full
of ancient regrets and empty dreams. "I should have listened to
my heart."

"You did," Julian insisted, "and it led you to Cardassia. Look
at your homeworld now, Garak. *You* are responsible for their
regained prosperity and embrace of more cultural pursuits.
Imagine what it would have been like had it returned to a
militaristic, oppressive, narcissistic regime. Could you have
lived with it if that had happened? Honestly."

Garak knew what his friend said was true. "No," he answered in
a small voice. A part of him hated the man he'd become and,
because of that, hated the man he'd been all those years ago.

Julian removed his hand from Garak's shoulder. "So you finally
retired. Do you have any plans after this vacation?"

Garak shook his head. "No. I bought a cabin in the Kryoc
Mountains. I guess I'll spend a lot of time. . . doing nothing."
Garak voiced the question that had been bothering him since he'd
heard of the announcement. "How are you and Ezri doing?"

Julian turned his eyes downward. "She died almost two years ago."

 "I'm sorry, I had no idea." He wanted to reach out, to enfold
him in a comforting embrace but wasn't sure if his touch would
be welcome.

Julian looked back up into his eyes. "It's okay, it doesn't
hurt anymore. There are still times I miss her. Like there were
still times I missed you.  She knew that there would always be a
piece of me she could never touch, and she accepted it."

"What about the symbiont?"

"Thankfully they were able to transfer it. Liam Dax is a
scientist on Trill. He asked if he could keep in contact with
Richard."

"And what did you say?"

Julian shrugged. "Richard is an adult now, twenty-three last
December. I left the decision up to him, and last I heard he was
considering it."

"You raised a remarkable son, Julian." 

"He was an easy child that practically raised himself." Julian
switched gears. "I have a confession to make."

"Oh?"

"My main reason for coming to Pacifica was to find you. I
called your office and a very talkative woman named Durona told
me that you'd retired. With a little persuasion she told me
about your vacation plans, too. The conference was just a
fortunate coincidence -- they happily added me to their lecturer
list at the last minute."

Garak wasn't sure what to say. A part of him wanted to ask why
the doctor had sought him out, but another part was afraid of
hearing the answer. 

They stood there in silence, each not sure what to say next. It
was just like that one visit Julian had made to Cardassia after
the war. Garak remembered how it had turned out and he'd be
damned if he'd let history repeat itself. "I still love you,
Julian, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret
not doing more to keep you in my life."

Julian's eyes misted over. "I still roll over in the night and
reach out for you, for your gentle strength and warm touch. I
never, not for a second, stopped loving you, Elim."

"Would you like to join me for dinner tonight?" Garak tried but
couldn't keep the hope from his voice.

A smile spread across Julian's face and he reached out to take
a hold of Garak's hand. "I can't think of anything else I'd
rather do."

THE END

-- 
Pursuant to the Berne Convention, this work is copyright with all rights
reserved by its author unless explicitly indicated.
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