Title: The Price of Innocence
Author: N'kala99
Author's Comments: This is my first completed DS9 fic.
I took some liberties in writing the characters'
personalities, so bear with me. I have been reading some
of the other stories, and this idea popped in my head.
Enjoy!

The Price of Innocence
By: N'kala99

Chapter One

Doctor Julian Bashir walked down the corridor with a
light spring in his step. He smiled at each and every
crewmember he passed. He was in an exceptionally good
mood, and nothing could spoil it for him.

Bashir turned a corner and ran into Chief Miles
O'Brien, kneeling down in front of an exposed conduit and
working hard. A frown marred the older man's face.

"Good morning, Chief," Bashir announced jovially.

"What's so good about it?" O'Brien snapped back.

Bashir paused in surprise, but quickly dismissed the
chief's sour attitude. "Are we still on for darts
tonight at Quark's?"

O'Brien turned to look at Bashir. "Look, Julian.
I'm busy trying to keep the station together, which,
contrary to what you might believe, is quite difficult.
It's not like I can come and go as I please, like you
can. If you don't mind, I'd like to get back to work. I
have a lot to do today, and I can't waste time playing
darts with you."

With that, O'Brien turned his attention back to the
conduit. Bashir simply stared at him in shock for a few
seconds, then moved on. His stride was not as buoyant as
before. What the chief said had hurt. Just because he
wasn't an engineer didn't mean he wasn't busy. Hell, he
was the only doctor on the entire station, seeing to the
care of over one thousand people. That the chief didn't
think his job important hurt Bashir deeply.

Bashir was about to step out onto the Promenade when
the station suddenly shuddered under his feet. Bashir
stumbled to the deck, along with everyone else around
him. Hauling himself to his feet, Bashir hurried to help
others and check for injury. He slapped his
communicator.

"Bashir to OPS!" he shouted. "What's going on?"

"We're a little busy at the moment, Julian," Major
Kira Nerys' voice replied. "There aren't any injured
yet. We'll let you know."

Before he could respond, Kira cut the link. Bashir
was irritated at Kira for dismissing him so completely,
but subdued the feeling as he assisted the rest of the
civilians to their feet. Once he had made sure everyone
was all right, Bashir finally made it to the Infirmary.

The resident Cardassian tailor, Garak, was speaking
with Bashir's head nurse Jabarra. Bashir focused a
concerned look on his friend. "Garak, are you all
right?"

"Of course, my dear doctor," Garak replied smoothly.
"I was just asking your capable nurse when you would be
arriving."

"Is there something you need?" Bashir asked tiredly.

Garak's brow furrowed ever so slightly, but he
answered, "Actually, I was hoping to inquire about that
book you mentioned over lunch yesterday. What was the
title? The Grapes of Wrath?"

Bashir smiled. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I called
it up before I left yesterday." He retrieved a data padd
and typed in the correct commands before handing it to
Garak. "I had a feeling you would be interested in
reading it."

Garak accepted the padd, then turned an intrigued
gaze to the doctor. "And might I ask how you knew?"

Bashir's smile widened. "Call it intuition."

Garak nodded. "All right. I will get back to you
as soon as I have finished. Until later, Doctor."

"Goodbye, Garak," Bashir replied.

As soon as he had gone, Bashir turned to Jabarra.
"Anything happen while I was gone?"

"Just a few minor scrapes and burns," Jabarra
replied. "Nothing serious. What happened just now?"

The smile left Bashir's face quickly. "I wouldn't
be a good person to ask," he told her neutrally.
"Perhaps, when OPS settles down, they'll be able to
answer your question."

Jabarra took note of the dejected look and tone as
Bashir shut himself up in his office. Her heart broke
for the young man. She could tell that OPS had dismissed
Bashir yet again as an annoyance. Anger at the senior
staff boiled inside of her. They were so quick to rely
on Bashir when they needed medical help, but when it came
to anything else, they simply had no time for him.
Didn't they see how it hurt him? Couldn't they tell how
much he wanted to be accepted by them?

Jabarra had to take several calm breaths before
thinking again. It wouldn't do to let Bashir, or anyone
else, see her so upset.

She couldn't help it. She was protective of him,
mainly because of his unbiased and unprejudiced way of
looking at life. It was a refreshing change from the
points of view everyone else of Deep Space Nine held. It
was also the reason everyone stayed away from Bashir, but
for the life of him, Bashir couldn't figure that out.

Jabarra supposed that was why she, as a Bajoran,
accepted Garak. His kind had devastated Bajor, and there
was certainly no love lost between the two races. Garak,
however, seemed protective of Bashir in his own way. He
too saw Bashir's unique personality, and, like Jabarra,
was drawn to protect that innocent trait within him. If
not for that, Jabarra would have no tolerance for the
Cardassian.

Two Bajorans entered the Infirmary, distracting
Jabarra from her thoughts. She set her feelings aside
and called for Bashir.

~~*~~

He surreptitiously observed the many patrons coming
and going along the Promenade from his seat near the
Replimat. So far, no one had paid him any mind. He was
dressed in nondescript clothing, and had made his
appearance out to be unassuming. He didn't want to be
noticed. He was busy.

Looking.

He'd arrived on the station two standard weeks
before, as a stopover on his way through the wormhole.
He'd traveled a great distance looking for the one person
that would bring about salvation for him and his kind.
More were out there like him, looking for their savior.
He himself was about to leave when he saw him.

A young man, human, with dark hair and intense hazel
eyes. He possessed an aura about him like no other. It
was kind and gentle, but with a firmness of character no
other being had. He could see that this man was to be
the one. He would deliver them all from hell.

He had spent the following two weeks studying and
observing this man, making sure that he was truly the
one. He had seen the scorn of his colleagues, the
triumph and defeat of life, and kindness to which he
shared with everyone; young and old, Bajoran and
Cardassian, and strong and weak. He was more certain
than ever that he was the one.

He finished composing his letter and set it inside
his cloak to be transmitted later. His people would
arrive, and the ceremony would begin here.

End Chapter One