Disclaimer: The lads aren't mine, but they should be. I would, after all, encourage them to have lots and lots of hot sweaty sex. Lets see The Powers That Be do that with 'em. Wait, the show is over? They never officially got it on? Bashir ended up with *Ezri*? Okay, that's it. Time for an angsty ficlet.

Pairing: Garak/Bashir-Slashy slashy!! If you don't like slashy goodness, go sit in the corner until your mummy tells you to go to bed.

Summary: Their lives are ash. Can Garak and Bashir find a way to rebuild?

Category: One part Fairy Tale, one part Angsty Drama, one part Romance (Ack! I can't believe I wrote a G/B romance fic. I promise it won't happen again. It's all whips and chains next time, I promise!), and a small pinch o' Smut.

Rating: Erm, I'm not much for rating fics, but let's call this R. It's got some mature/dark themes and a touch of male/male action. If you are under age and you think your parents would be angry if they knew you were reading this, either don't read it or lean to hide your smut carefully like I did back in the day.

Notes: Ezri and Julian were fooling themselves. You know it, I know it, and this fic knows it. The sonnet used is Sonnet XVII By Pablo Neruda. Sometimes a story will leap fully formed into ones head. This is one of those times, and the sonnet is to blame. Damn you, Neruda! It was a nice day out and you kept me inside a slave to my muse.

Feedback: If you like it or want to archive it, let me know at [night_minstrel at h0t mail (just try me, spammers!)] I'm new to writing fics, and the feedback will make me think that I can give something to this fandom besides the obsessive reading and re- reading of other people's smut biscuits. If you read this and think, "damn, that bitch totally stole that line/idea from [name of awesome fic writer]!!" then I probably did. This type of fic has been done before, I'm sure, but I didn't mean to steal from anyone. If I did, I'm sorry. And I luuuv you. Come sit on my lap. Yeah, baby, feel better now? And hey, I really meant it about the feedback. I'm like a hungry, hungry hippo for feedback. Okay, more like a slutty, slutty fic writer. Gimme.

Ash

A Fairy Tale

By Tylin


I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:



Julian Bashir knew for sure that he was falling in love with Garak when he stood in front of Tain and discovered that everything Garak had told him in confidence was a lie, or at least a "variation on the truth" as his parents had called it when he was little. Bashir realized, standing in front of a man that was surely among the most powerful in the Cardassian Empire, that while he could never trust Garak, he was incapable of resisting him.

He couldn't tell the now-probably-just-a-well-informed-tailor that he was interested in a relationship, even though it was fairly clear even to almost everyone that Garak was interested in more than casual flirtation. It wasn't that Julian couldn't have bedded the former spy, or that any sort of morality about same sex relations was a problem in either culture. Nor was it a mater of decorum. After all, Starfleet officers were free to bed whomever they chose.

It was trust that the relationship lacked. They could share a thousand lunches and Julian would still be no closer to truly knowing Garak. So Julian played the game, allowed Jadzia to set him up on boring date after boring date, and pretended he didn't notice the way Garak's eyes flitted up and down his body when they were in the middle of a heated debate.


I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.



He would sit in his quarters, datapad in hand, going over various things he had to worry about in the following week, and almost uncontrollably he would summon up poetry from different eras and worlds designed by those who held love in secretly or simply. Plain and simple love. Ha. As if there was such a thing outside of poetry. Nothing so uncomplicated for his "plain and simple" Garak.


I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers



Their conversations shimmered with covetousness, innuendo and tenure. They would do this forever, for a thousand million years; they had done it from the beginning of time, waltzed around their lust and their mistrust. You see, Garak didn't trust the earnest doctor any more than the doctor trusted him. Oh, he trusted him to save his life when he was in danger, he trusted him to always act in accordance with his principles, but it was Bashir's principles that Garak could never trust.

How could you trust a man that would rather die than betray his principles? It showed a type of fanaticism that Garak was uncomfortable with. It was the same stubborn streak of righteousness that had lead to many Bajorans dying prematurely during the occupation. Despite this, Garak couldn't help but look at the younger man and think of nothing but revoltingly impossible situations where the Doctor revealed a passionate need for the older Cardassian and their bodies met in a delicious cadence.

And so, a thousand years passed within their hearts, a war came and went, fathers died and with them they took the last hope both men had for answers. Would-be lovers were killed, and one was even resurrected. Leaders were taken, mothers were broken in spirit and then in body, and the homeworld Garak dreamt of returning to welcomed him back when it was in flames.


and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.



So Garak returned to his planet and Julian stayed with Dax-of-the-not-Jadzia. Garak tried to rebuild a world that no longer existed and Julian tried to recreate a relationship that had never happened with a woman that was dead-but-only-slightly. They were stilled liars; they had lied to each other for years. Julian's occasional letters to Garak were met with feigned disinterest.

Garak would wake up in the middle of the night with the taste of ash in his mouth, incinerated lives and art and building coating his throat with the Dominion's final insult. He spent his rare free days in one of the last places in all of Cardassia that seemed to be alive. The Cardassian Botanical Caves were wonders, filled with fragile night orchids that only bloomed in total darkness. Their smell was so strong that they could draw insects from the surface down through the black to find them. Garak would find his way down the steep slick slopes by memory and sit in the total darkness for hours, reclaiming his lungs, breathing in the smell of tenacious survival.

Julian became darkly silent as Ezri told him he was in love with disagreement and discord, and that she had seen the poems he read late at night, when he fell asleep sprawled out on their couch, datapad on his chest, instead of coming to bed. She told him that she knew the poems weren't read with her in mind, and spat with all the vitriol she could manage that a dead planet suited him.

He requested a leave of absence from Kira. When she asked him how long he would be gone, he looked her in the eyes and said, "Until I can trust him."

She said she understood, though he knew she didn't.

He booked passage on the next ship leaving for Cardassia Prime. Ezri didn't come to see him off. She was busy filling out a transfer request to the USS Erdos, another desperate attempt to escape her life. He hardly noticed her absence, nor expected her to come, despite her earlier promises that they remain friends first, lovers second. He was already debating what he would say to Garak, how he could explain what it was that he wanted when he didn't even know for sure what that was.


I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:



It came to him as he walked through the moonlit wreckage of Garak's hometown. The soft shadows of gutted buildings were illuminated by lundests, small birds with iridescent bulbs attached to long pieces of cartilage on their heads. He watched as the birds were able to perch on exposed stone from a building and wait for light-hungry insects to come to them. Evolution was a marvel, he thought. And Julian was suddenly struck by his own lack of evolution. Since he was genetically altered, he had always assumed that change would come *to* him, not from him. And that's when he knew. He would never trust Garak. He was, or at least, had been, a dangerous man. But he still trusted Garak more than anyone else he knew. He trusted Garak to make life a bit of a challenge, to make of Julian's life something that no one else could.

He could probably go and beg and plead to Ezri to take him back and she would. He was charming and brilliant; they never fought, and he knew exactly how to stroke her when they woke hungry and warm in the middle of the night. They could have a family and lead a normal life for two people incapable of truly loving each other; they could plod through existence without discord or mistrust. He could keep waiting for change to come to him, or he could find it with a man that would make him angry, make him forget himself and find himself in the same breath. He didn't want to trust Garak, because for him that would mean he wasn't being challenged by him. It would mean that his life was safe.

When the door opened, Garak saw him, thinner than before, if such a thing were possible. And then it was like every maudlin daydream Garak had fostered before the war, with Julian reaching for him, wrapping his arms around his body, tasting his mouth, and moaning with the pleasure of it. When Julian pulled away, held his body at arms length, it was only to utter a strong and unwavering protestation of love. And this time, when they kissed, the flavour of starvation began to abate and though Garak gave away nothing and everything in their kiss, Julian was satisfied.


I love you in this way because I know no other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,



And so they lived together, sometimes quietly, sometimes contentiously. Their life became a raucous meditation. Their bodies would meet, in pain and pleasure, cocks hard and lips soft, skin pliant, minds willful. Sharp teeth on a willing neck. A spatter of cum on a gently curved back.

When the first memorial forest was planted, no irony was lost as to the ease of recreating a forest and the impossibility of reviving the dead, reconstructing a nearly lost culture. There the forest stood, however, a million trees strong, on the southern shores of the G'larn region. They spent many days wandering through its artificially developed paths, made to give the simulation of a thousand years of footsteps. When Julian said that he wanted to build a house on the periphery, where the red cliffs plummeted to the water, where the air smelled like sea salt in the morning and rich Tromella Oak at night, Garak smiled an enigmatic smile and told him the house was already waiting for them. And it was.


so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close