|It's Best To Be Alone Together
Author: Tarica PM
Julian is always alone on Valentine's Day. Keiko and Miles won't let it happen again.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - J. Bashir & M. O'Brien - Words: 1,521 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 03-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6808354
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: This is a short fic I wrote for a friend for Valentine's Day 2010. Enjoy!
I do not own Star Trek: Deep SPace Nine.
It's an innocuous little holiday that we humans celebrate. Not that all of us celebrate it. Certainly it was originally meant to be a religious celebration of love, but in the two millennia since it began, it's come to be far more, religion aside. Those of us in relationships take it as an extra excuse for a romantic dinner, a reason to rain happiness on our beloved. Those of us who are unattached, so to speak, either resent the entire thing or choose to celebrate our singleness.
I haven't celebrated a Valentine's Day since Palis and I broke up. It was a couple days before February 14th by Earth reckoning when she found out I'd rather take a position in deep space than at Paris Medical Center. I suppose one can guess which category of unattached I fall under. I think she ended it that day just to stick it to me. Even with a girlfriend on that particular date in the following years, I've refused to celebrate on principle.
But this year there's no one trying to force me to do anything I don't want to, trying to persuade me to buy them little heart shaped favors...I can't decide whether I'm glad or not. Valentine's Day can be lonely when you've got no one. It hurts even more that even the Bajorans on the station have welcomed the celebration, lauding it to a status similar to one of their many religious festivals.
So here I sit, alone at the bar, not even Morn present to distract me from my mind. It appears that even he found someone to 'be his Valentine'. Of course, even a pile of vomit has been more appealing than I since I was revealed to be a genetically enhanced freak. I'm not that surprised that anyone has chosen Morn over me. I can't even depend on my friends to help distract me from my woes... Miles has Keiko, Jadzia has Worf, Garak has Ziyal.
I'm not sure how long I've been sitting here drinking - quite a while if you go by the number of dead bottles on the bar - but it comes as quite a surprise when he sits down next to me and asks Quark for a pint of ale. I know it's not my drunken mind playing tricks on me, I've never been drunk in my life thanks to Adigeon Prime. But I've still managed to get my blood alcohol level high enough that I'm having some difficulty deducing why Miles is sitting next to me when he should be with his wife.
I turn to him, don't even have to ask the question aloud.
"Plasma storm." he mutters in his thick Irish brogue. "Shuttle had to turn back to Bajor."
"Mmm." It's a noncommittal response. I don't really trust myself to attempt to comfort him and sound like I mean it right now. I'm feeling a little too much guilty pleasure over his being forced to join me and my slightly macabre thoughts of Palis and our dead relationship.
I settle for asking when she'll be coming to the station instead. I know that she was only going to be here two days anyway, all that she could get away from work.
"Couple weeks." Miles grunts. I can tell he's not really sure himself, not sure if they should bother to make the effort when the Defiant could be called away at any moment with him aboard. I remember about what I said to him all those years ago about the unknown, the worry, not being fair to the families of career officers. I wonder if now he maybe sees my point better. I know Keiko doesn't like the worry and waiting, and it only gets worse the closer we come to war with the Dominion.
We sit in silence for a while, nursing our drinks and not really paying each other much attention. I wonder if I wasn't slightly happier on my own than I am now, sitting with my uncommunicative, just as depressed best friend. I'm considering heading back to my quarters when he sets down his empty tankard and clambers to his feet. I can feel his eyes on my back as I slouch over the bar for a good minute before he speaks.
"Have you eaten, Julian?"
I don't bother to turn around on my stool, just shake my head.
"Well...there's a whole feast back in my quarters waiting be replicated. If you're interested, that is."
He's throwing me a bone, and we both know it. I'm certain this is the first time he's been without Keiko for Valentine's day since he arrived on the station. He doesn't want to be alone. I don't know what I want anymore. Palis is long gone and I purposely pushed all my girlfriends away.
"It's got to be better than sitting here trying to get drunk." He offers, and I silently agree. Miles' friendship is the most constant thing in my life right now, and the lure of spending an evening with him in companionable silence is enough. We understand each other, at times like these more than others. Maybe it's better to be alone together than to be alone.
"Okay." I agree, and drain my current bottle before rising. I follow him from Quark's noticing that this is the first time in nearly 6 years I haven't wanted to be alone on Valentine's Day. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because I've been alone so often in recent months. In 371...after Zimmerman came... Miles and the rest have been my saving grace. They're more a surrogate family to me than anything, and I don't know how I'd have gotten this far without them. I probably would have given up in the camp if Martok hadn't helped me to remember them. My hope was very near gone when I was allowed back into the camp population to find Garak and Worf there.
All I know is I don't want to be alone right now. I want something to distract me from the past, recent and distant. Miles wants to forget that Keiko's visit was canceled. I think we can manage it; we've had enough practice at in our years on the station.
After dinner, I'm glad I decided to come as we sit on Miles' couch watching holos. Just being there in the company of another feels good. I'm more relaxed than I've been in a long time, and I feel myself slowly drifting to sleep, to comfortable to do anything about it. From a distance I feel the weight of a blanket being placed around my shoulders, hear Miles' voice bidding me goodnight. His hand on my shoulder is the last thing I remember as I slide into the blackness of sleep.
I smile down at Keiko as she puts her arm around my waist. She's a helluva woman, I'm sure that no one else would understand why I needed to spend the evening with Julian. He's asleep on the couch now, looks more peaceful, younger, than I've seen him in a long time. I'm glad she let me do this, I couldn't bare to let the lad alone when everyone else had someone to be with today. Not after everything he's been through in the last few months. Keiko gets that my love for my friends is important to me, even if it took her awhile to get there. She's doing this for me tonight, and I love her all the more for it. We still have tomorrow anyway. Besides, we both agree that it's worth it to see Julian lying there completely at ease. He trusts our friendship completely, more than anyone can comprehend, and that's one of the greatest gifts of love I can think of. Keiko knows that, and I know she'll help me be there for him anytime he needs it (admitting or not), the way he has been for me.
Keiko squeezes my hand and leads me back to the bedroom.
"He doesn't need to know there was no plasma storm." She states, and I agree. He'd probably reject my 'sympathy', even though I have none for him. Just concern for his well being. He's looked out for my well being for years now, and it's mine and Keiko's turn to look out for his. At first I was surprised that she would hear no less from me, but then, she's a helluva woman. And I wouldn't have her any other way.