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He stops to listen. 

Julian's hands start burning after he's been kneeling on the carpet for a few minutes, his ear a few centimeters above the rug. The sound isn't quiet, in fact, it's the reason he's awake now - maybe not the only one, but it certainly plays into his early awakening. 

It's not quiet, but too low for humans to conceive. Somewhere in the negative decible range - a range many don't know exists. Julian knows Quark could hear it, after all, the large ears amplify the sound waves. As do the genetic enhancements in his case. He hadn't had bad hearing as a child - but evidently, it could still be improved. 

Julian sits up stiffly, rubbing his aching wrists alternatingly. Probably a problem with some conduit or Jefferies tube - but nothing worrisome. 

It's difficult not to find dangers in his everyday life. When he walks across the Promenade, Julian's mind creates scenarios. An alien strides across Quark's bar and brushes over one of the chairs, emitting a virus that mutates. He's calculated the probability of that before. 

The Defiant's warp core ruptures. If the explosion doesn't harm the station, the radiation surely will. Radiation poisoning isn't harmless - but Julian forcefully stops that train of thought. It's probably just a Jefferies Tube. There's a Jefferies Tube underneath his quarters, isn't there? 

Not even Julian can memorize the entire blueprints of Deep Space Nine - but now he needs to know. Is there a Jefferies Tube under his quarters? 

He rises fully, turns once. "Computer, show me a blueprint of the station," he says quietly. He doesn't know why - nobody can hear him. Then he sits down in front of the grey desk and waits impatiently. 

Radiation poisoning. Symptoms. Vomiting. Internal bleeding. Referred to a 'radiation hangover' in some ancient, long-forgotten languages. Probability of survival. Why's he thinking of that now?

Oh, right. The Defiant. Julian fidgets, then leans over his desk to study the blueprints. Right. The sound. Sound travels in waves. Definitely in waves - not like light. Light is weird, Julian thinks almost childishly - he's not a physicist, after all. Much less a quantum physicist. 

Ah, the Jefferies Tube. Julian freezes. There's not Jefferies Tube underneath his quarters. 

 

He wants to curl up on the ground and cry because there's no Jefferies tube and he can't lay down because it's too goddamn loud on this station and he still doesn't know why the floor beneath him it humming consistently. He doesn't know how he's managed - and he doesn't know how he'll ever manage again. 

Julian's lips are paper dry. Paper. Such a weird metaphor in this day and age, considering they rarely used it, he thinks. Paper. Is paper really that dry? He hasn't held a piece for - for how long? He furrows his brows in concentration to pinpoint a moment. 

The doctor rises to his feet one more time - he circles the room. He longs for company. He's desperate for distraction - but it's late. Still, he taps the cool metal of his communicator and clears his throat awkwardly. "Bashir to Garak," he says. 

 

He still doesn't know what they are. Couple doesn't feel right - physically intimate, emotionally involved, but neither seems to be ready for commitment. Now, Julian doesn't care. He longs for comfort, for somebody to explain the damning noise. 

Garak sounds awake when he answers - but Julian can't tell if he's been asleep or not. "Doctor? Is everything alright?" He asks amiably, he doesn't sound angry due to the late hour. 

"There's a sound. I can't sleep here," Julian says, surprised to here how steady his voice is. Garak's response is almost amused.

"Are you asking if you're allowed to come over? Camp over here - is that correct? I do believe you mentioned that particular figure of speech a few lunches ago." 

 

Julian nods, then realizes Garak can't see him. "Yeah," he says. "If that's alright. I don't fancy staying up the entire night, so..." 

That's true. But it's the worries that keep him awake, not the low, resonating humming. He's relieved to escape his quarters, making his way to Garak. H. H. H. H. H. H. H. Corridor H. H. He thinks. 

 

He reaches the quarters. His heart rate slows. He's relieved, he wants to yell out with joy - no more sounds here. He's safe. It's quiet. 

 

Garak doesn't ask. He isn't physically affectionate, he doesn't embrace Julian tenderly, but he brings a cup of tea and waits until Julian's choked down half of it, then he places a second pillow onto his bed. Julian crawls under the covers. 

 

Everything's quiet. Julian only hears Garak's regular breathing, in sync with his own.