1 – Desolates Ending - 1
Garak’s letter had been telling, but it left some things unclear. Bashir knew that the letter was the most truthful account of Garak’s life that anybody had ever been privy. He also knew that only the extreme stress that the Cardassian was under could have caused such honesty. Garak had lost everything except a rare glance at the child of his archenemy and his first love; he had lost Cardassia, Mila, Tain, and Palandine, forever. How could Garak cope? Julian couldn’t imagine, so here he was on the once proud Cardassia Prime desperately hoping to help Cardassia and his friend.
He had not really seen the extent of the damage before he left on the Defiant right after the female Founder had surrendered. He had barely had enough time to say goodbye to Garak. At the time the shear number of dead had shocked him, but that was nothing to seeing … this. The letter had not even begun to express the horrors; even with all the work that had been done towards rebuilding it was terrible to see. “Well Julian, you won’t get anything done staring like a dumbstruck fool.” With that he picked up his bag and headed for the “Tailor’s Grounds.” At least Garak had found some peace in his newest profession.
Julian was in awe. He didn’t know what he had expected, but it wasn’t … His first view of the monuments had stopped him in his tracks. Garak had not done them justice. Before Julian knew what he was doing he was among the statues and the beautiful orchids. What had Garak called them, Edosian Orchids? He would have to ask. Then he came across the statue with the Hebatian mask, it was overpowering. Julian didn’t hear the approach of someone behind him the statue had him transfixed.
Elim was tired and depressed. He wasn’t really able to help Cardassia. There were no more burial squads to aid and the politics were getting along without him. All he could do was sit in his shack and repair clothes for those that brought it to him. But, that wasn’t helping Cardassia. Mostly he just felt helpless and lonely. Oh, Doctor Parmak was a good friend, but his visits were very few of late. Being the head of the medical department of an entire planet was time consuming, so Elim didn’t begrudge the doctor. He understood. He just wanted to be useful again, but how?
In his despair Elim found himself wandering among the monuments. He was heading towards his favorite when the sight of Julian stopped him. It couldn’t be real; he was hallucinating again. His loneliness was getting to him again. “NO! Go away! Stop torturing me. You’re not real.”
The scream had startled Julian. He turned to see Garak in obvious distress. The Cardassian was staring at him with a mix of hope, terror, and pain that was alarming to see. Julian moved towards Garak to help him, let him know that this was real.
Elim gave-up as the illusion moved towards him. His strength was gone, he couldn’t fight this, didn’t want to fight this. He wanted to believe that Julian was real. He sank to the ground and held himself as he began to rock back and forth.
Julian could hear Garak’s inarticulate muttering as he watched his friend. It hurt to see Garak this way, weak and vulnerable. Julian kneeled down beside the Cardassian speaking softly to him, “I’m here Garak. This is real. I’m real. It’s okay.” He reached out to put a comforting arm around the man’s shoulders. It was only then that he noticed the tremors. Garak was worse off than Julian expected.
With the contact Garak melted into Julian. The warmth was comforting, real? Garak didn’t know, didn’t care, as long as it didn’t leave. Julian moved to get at his tricorder, but the terrified, childlike whimper and viselike hug that gripped him caused him to ignore the unit.
“It’s okay, Garak. I’m here. It’s okay. I won’t leave you like this.” Julian cooed in a soft, comforting voice. Slowly the grip loosened, but only slightly. Garak was holding onto Julian like a lifeline. “We need to get you inside.” He continued as he carefully lifted Garak. Julian’s genetic enhancements allowed him to easily lift the weight of a full-grown man, but he was surprised at the ease with which he carried the Cardassian. A Cardassian of Garak’s sized should have been more of a strain.
Shortly after Julian placed Garak on the small cot the man was out. Exhaustion had finally won out. Julian immediately pulled out his medical tricorder. He wasn’t happy to see the results. It was obvious that Garak was not taking care of himself: malnourishment, signs of extreme fatigue, dehydration. No wonder he had reacted so strongly to Julian’s presence. He was already near collapse and the unexpected sight was more than his body and mind could handle.
Julian busied himself while Garak slept. He found a vacant lot behind the Monuments that allowed him to keep the shuttle nearby. He made a quick search of the shack and found almost no food or water, and no medicine. He inventoried the medical supplies on the shuttle and readied it for its new life as a temporary clinic. After that all he could do was wait. He sat and watched over Garak. He would replicate a good meal for them after the Cardassian woke, but sleep was more important now.
It wasn’t long before Garak woke with a start, “Julian!”
“I’m here. Sssshhh. I’m here.” Julian put his hand on Garak’s shoulder for reassurance. Slowly Garak calmed down and took in his surroundings.
“Your real.” a half statement.
“Yes, Garak, I’m real. And here, before you ask.” Julian gave a wry smile.
Garak only gave the slightest of nods in acknowledgement of the last statement. He was overwhelmed.
A protracted silence “I received your book disguised as a letter. I wanted to help.” More silenced.
“Wanted to help you, my friend.” Another pause.
“And, it seems I didn’t come a minute to soon.” Julian attempted to lighten the mood.
“Friend.” Garak nodded. That word resonated with Garak and he gave the slightest of smiles.
“That’s right: my friend. Now come with me. I’m going to give you a good meal and then we are going to talk about your health.” Julian helped Garak to his feet and then began to steer him to the shuttle. Garak didn’t resist, he just let Julian lead him into the shuttle and into the co-pilot’s chair.
“What would you like to eat Garak?” Julian asked as he moved to the shuttles replicator. This one had a much larger selection than the usual shuttle. Julian had seen to that, as he would be spending a lot of time here.
“I’m not hungry.” Garak replied absently. He was staring at Julian as if he expected the human to vanish.
Julian ignored the comment and ordered two bowls of Plomeek Soup, two slices of French bread, and large glass of water, Rokassa juice, and Tarkalien Tea. He brought the meal over to the consol in front of Garak. “Here, eat this.”
Julian sat down and began to eat his own bowl of soup, and drink his tea. He had the feeling he was going to need the tea’s calming effect. “Garak, eat. I won’t disappear.” Garak glanced down at the food in front of him, but quickly looked back up at Julian.
“You need to eat, Garak.” Julian stopped eating and looked pointedly at the Cardassian in the seat next to him.
Slowly Elim picked up the spoon next to him and began eating. He hadn’t realized how hungry he had been. The food was delicious, and all to soon the soup was gone. He took a few bites of bread, and then quickly drained the glass of water. “More water?” Garak asked.
“I’ll get it.” Julian grabbed the empty glass and headed to the replicator. By the time he returned Garak was starting on the second piece of bread. Oh, well, Garak needed it more than I did anyway, Julian thought. Next time don’t leave food you want to eat in front of a half-starved Cardassian. Julian grinned slightly “Here you go, Garak.”
Elim made quick work of the second glass of water. He then began to drink the Rokassa juice more slowly. Julian only hoped that the meal wouldn’t make Garak sick. He had tried to pick foods that would be easy on the stomach, but eating a meal as quickly as Garak had, especially after a period of very little food, didn’t usually bode well. “I thought you weren’t hungry.” Julian smirked as he teased the Cardassian.
“Well, food this good is not readily available on Cardassia right now.” Garak was trying to redirect the focus away from him.
“Garak, I did a medical scan while you were sleeping.” Julian responded in a no nonsense tone.
“You did?” Garak obviously didn’t know how to respond.
“Garak.” Julian wasn’t getting his friends attention. “Elim.” The Cardassian started at the sound of his given name, and his focus shifted to the man in front of him: Julian, his friend, a man that had never called him by his given name. After a short pause during which Julian made sure he had Garak’s full attention Julian continued, “You had just had a nervous breakdown right in front of me. And, I was shocked at how light you were to carry. There is no way I wasn’t going to check on you.”
Garak only continued to focus on the doctor. Apparently he had nothing to say to Julian’s words, “You are dehydrated, showing signs of extreme fatigue and malnourished, Garak. What’s going on? I know you have been dealing with a lot of really terrible things, but…” he trailed off. He really didn’t know what to say. “Please, Garak, don’t give up! Let me help you!” there was a very sincere plea in Julian’s voice as he finished.
There was a long pause. Julian began to wonder if he had been heard. Then, “Elim.”
“What?” Julian jolted.
“Elim, please call me Elim.” Garak responded quietly.
Glad that Gar… Elim had at least heard something, “Elim it is then.” Julian paused for a moment before, “Elim, will you let me help you?”