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Five Notes in Grey

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I. Touch
"....to forgive me," Garak murmurs, and the pain in his head makes certain he isn't even sure what he said before. I want you to forgive me? I need you to forgive me? I need you?

No matter. There is the smooth, cool human skin in his burning hand, and the young voice says: "I forgive you, Garak, for whatever it is you have done."

Garak is tempted to reply, My dear Doctor, that's a little presumptuous, don't you think??

But if he said that, Bashir would go away. And right now, everything standing between him and the agonizing feeling of falling apart is this one sense of touch.

 

II. Taste
"I really don't understand why you bother with this seduction routine," one of his old comrades, visiting the station, once says to Dukat. "Just order them to spread their legs and be done with it."

But. If you did this, you'd drink nothing but hate from their lips. Even the transpiration on their skin would taste like tears. No. Give Meru food, and more food for her children, and money for that pathetic husband of hers, and taste the sweetness of gratitude and devotion on her healed, unblemished temple. Allow Naprem to see your weakness, admit to loneliness, and taste the comfort of loyalty and love from her mouth. It nourishes you for more than a decade.

But. Give Adami the truth about herself, and taste hate, gratitude and love all at once on her at the same time. Taste destruction as you both prepare to make a sacrifice.

That is the best taste of all.

 

III. Sight
Tain has seen countless men die, and knows sight can be one of the first senses to go. He still can't believe this is happening to him. Not now. Elim says they are alone, but then Enabran Tain has never trusted the sound of his own voice, let alone his…protegé's. You hear what you want to hear, every good interrogator knows that. Trust your eyes. See what's in front of you. Only not anymore, because Elim is there, talking, demanding, but Tain can't see him anymore. There is just darkness.

Finally, he decides to make up his own sight. Replace what you don't have, however you can. Every good interrogator knows that.

"Do you remember that day?" he asks Elim, painting a picture for him, and it becomes clear to Tain, so clear, words spinning colours that never were so bright. Making Elim see with his eyes.

"It was the only day," Elim says, and Tain knows he has won. Elim will destroy the Founders for him.

Elim will always see with his father's eyes.

 

IV. Sound
"I've tried to hate you, but I can't," Ziyal says, and there is so much noise all around them, people running, gunfire everywhere, that she barely understands his reply.

"I could not live with myself if you hated me," she thinks he says, or perhaps: "I could not live if you hated me."

Then she is in his arms again, because she knows these are the last words he'll ever hear from her. She will not go back to Cardassia with him, not ever, and he has destroyed any future the two of them might have had on this station with his own hands. So this is the end, and she tries to tell her father she loves him, despite everything, but her voice gets drowned out by a rhythmic pounding, louder and louder. There is a sharp ache suddenly, so different from the numbing sadness that has frozen her these last days.

She hears him cry her name, and the pounding noise grows slower, slower.

It is my heart, she realises, and knows she is dying.

Kira has told her once that the prophets reveal themselves through the sound of one's heart. But there are no prophets here now, not for her, nor for her father. There is just the pounding, slower, still slower. With her last breath, she tries to hear it again, because she knows that once it stops, the darkness will swallow them both.

 

V. Smell
There are so many ways to experience your own degradation, and Damar finds he has to discover them all. When he stops looking in the mirror, he starts to smell what he refuses to see.

His armour, when he puts it on each day, smells of the bitter sweat of Cardassian soldiers dying because the Dominion tells them to. His hands, bringing the food to his mouth, smell of the sickly sweet perfume the Vorta exudes when Weyoun insists on shaking hands with him for the daily vid propaganda.

But the worst smell, the smell he can't get rid of even after hours of scrubbing his body hard enough to produce blood, is the stench of rotting flesh. The stench of decay.

It stays with him until the very end, when he dies, fighting for his people.

By then, there is no other smell left on Cardassia.