Title: Second Chance
Feedback: Please. . .
A/N: What if Ziyal didn't die when Damar shot her in "Sacrifice of Angels". . . She and Garak get a second chance.
1Focused on looking for Ziyal, Garak only half heard Sisko talking to Jake, asking where Kira was. Then he heard the words 'sickbay' and 'Ziyal'. Fearing the worst he hurried to sickbay.
From years of habit his mind automatically registered Kira's presence, but his attention was focused on Ziyal. She looked pale, and was covered with a standard medical sheet.
"She's alive," Kira told him.
Looking more carefully he saw the slight rise and fall of her chest.
"She refused to leave with Dukat. Damar shot her. Dukat believed she was dead. Thankfully Odo and I found them in time to save her. I brought Ziyal here and Odo locked Dukat in a holding cell. It seems that believing she was killed pushed Dukat over the edge into insanity."
"No one's told him that she isn't dead?"
"We've been busy," Kira said, but it was obviously an excuse. She felt no guilt about letting Dukat suffer. "I'm sure someone will tell him. . . eventually." It was clear she would not be that person. From Garak's look she knew it would not be him either.
He turned his attention back to Ziyal, and thought that even injured she looked beautiful. "She looks. . . peaceful."
Kira raised an eyebrow, wondering what word he was going to say before he stopped himself.
"She loves you, you know."
"I've never understood why," he admitted. "I'm not sure I ever will."
"You could ask her to explain it to you when she wakes up," Kira noted.
"I suppose I could, but that isn't the Cardassian way," he replied.
Before Kira could reply Ziyal moved a little, beginning to wake up. Kira joined Garak at her bedside. A few seconds later Ziyal slowly opened her eyes. "Nerys?"
"I'm here, Ziyal. You're going to be okay."
As her vision cleared Ziyal realized that it wasn't her father standing beside Kira. "Garak?" she asked, not quite believing her eyes. She was surprised at how happy she was to see Garak and not her father. Part of her wondered if this was even real.
"Yes, my dear, it really is me. We can talk later, right now you need to rest and heal."
Still feeling the effects of her injury and the drugs she drifted off to sleep again.
She awoke a few hours later to find Garak sitting in a chair beside the bed reading. Hearing her movement he looked up from the book, and smiled at her. He didn't bother to hide the concern in his eyes. "How are you feeling? Shall I call Dr. Bashir?"
"No. I just need some water," she said, her voice sounding as dry and scratchy as her throat felt. Garak quickly got a glass of water and helped Ziyal sit up so she could drink it. Once she had some water she relaxed against him. He held her for a few minutes before gently lowering her back to the bed.
"Where's Kira? Where's my father?"
"Kira is in Ops I believe, talking with the Captain. She said she would return and visit you later. Your father. . . is in Security."
"I see," Ziyal said, sadness tingeing her voice.
Garak thought of telling her he was sorry about that, but for the first time found that a lie stuck in his throat. "When you're feeling better you can go and see him," he said instead.
She managed a small smile. "I'm glad you're here. And alive," she added.
"I did tell you not to underestimate my ability to survive," he reminded her with the slightest of smiles curving his lips, only one who knew him well would have seen it, Ziyal saw it.
"And I didn't. I knew you'd be back."
"You're confidence is gratifying," he told her. "And I am glad that you are alive. I will admit that I was. . . concerned, when I heard that you were in sickbay." In truth he'd been more than concerned, he'd been scared. The only time he'd been more scared was when suffering from an attack of claustrophobia.
"What was that book you were reading?" she asked.
"I was reading a book Dr. Bashir had recommended. 'The Count of Monte Cristo.' It's the story of a young man who is wrongfully imprisoned. He escapes and takes revenge on those who put him in prison. His revenge is almost Cardassian it it's complexity and subtlety. Of course there is the usual human sentimentality; but even so it is my favorite book of the human literature Dr. Bashir has given me to read over the years."
Just then Bashir walked in. "I'm glad to hear that Garak. And I'm even more glad to see you awake Ziyal. How do you feel?"
"Better," she answered carefully.
Bashir looked at the monitors of the Bio-Bed. "Well, your readings are better. I think that you might be able to leave here tomorrow. But only if you get your sleep tonight. Are you hungry?"
"That's a good sign. I'll bring you some food," he told her with a smile.
While they had been talking Garak had stepped off to the side.
"Garak to Colonel Kira."
"Ziyal is awake. I thought you might want to know."
"Thank you, Garak. I'll be there in a few minutes."
A few minutes later Dr. Bashir returned with one of his nurses, each carrying a tray of food. While the nurse helped Ziyal adjust the bed up so that she could eat Bashir handed the trey he held to Garak. "Here you go. I didn't think you'd want to leave Ziyal."
"Thank you, Julian. That is most thoughtful of you," Garak said as he took the trey.
"I'm going to have my own dinner, but call me if her condition or pain level changes," the doctor instructed.
"I will," Garak assured him.
Major Kira entered Sick Bay just as Bashir was leaving, carrying her own trey of food.
As they ate Garak told Ziyal of what the crew had been doing while away from the station. Kira occasionally added comments and corrections when she felt Garak took to many artistic liberties in the telling of a story. By tacit agreement no one mentioned Dukat.
Eventually Bashir returned. "I think it time for my patient to get some sleep."
Kira reacted firs, standing up. "Of course. I'll see you in the morning Ziyal."
"Good night Nerys."
Garak reluctantly stood as well, extending his hand towards her. "Sleep well Ziyal."
"You too," she said, extending her arm so that their palms met in the usual Cardassian gesture.
Once they were out of sick bay Kira turned to Garak. "I've seen you and Ziyal touch palms a few times. What's the significance of that gesture?"
"It would be the equivalent of a kiss on the cheek in your culture," he told her.
Before she could respond Odo appeared. "Nerys. Garak."
"Good night Colonel, Odo," Garak said and turned away towards his quarters.
A few hours later Garak came awake and sat up in his bed. "Computer, what is Ziyal's medical status?" he demanded.
"Access code required," came the computers voice.
Without thinking about it Garak gave a command access code that he wasn't supposed to know.
"All readings for patient Tora Ziyal are normal," reported the computer.
Garak relaxed slightly and thought back to his nightmare. He'd returned to Deep Space 9 to find Ziyal dead. Then he'd been standing at her grave, many years in the future. He'd been telling her how lonely and empty his life had been without her. He'd felt the pain that never quite seemed to leave his heart.
Telling him self it was just a nightmare, nothing more, he lay back down and tried to sleep. As he was about to drifting off to sleep he remembered a line he'd once heard Julian use. 'You don't know what you've got until it's gone.'