The next morning when Garak entered the replomat he saw Ziyal seated at one of the tables, and went to join her after getting his drink.

"Good morning, my Dear," he greeted.

She smiled up at him. "Good morning."

"So Dr. Bashir released you from Medical," Garak noted as he sat down.

"Yes. I'm feeling much better."

"I reserved some time in the holodeck, so I can enjoy the heat of a Cardassian sauna. Woudl you care to join me?" He'd actually done it thinking of her, knowing that the heat was good for her still sore muscles.

Ziyal smiled realizing that he'd done it for her more than himself. "The heat would be nice," she agreed. "So you remember the first time we met there?"

"Of course. You invited me that time."

"You brought a phaser," she reminded him.

"I thought you might want to present my head to your father as a gift, and you said the thought had crossed your mind," he replied.

"And you said you could kill me without a second thought."

"Things change," was the only answer he was willing to give. He knew that rather than being able to kill her without a second thought he'd now happily kill anyone who threatened her.

As Ziyal continued to recover, Garak continued to stay close to her. A week after her release from the Medical Bay Ziyal smiled as she joined Garak for breakfast. They'd fallen into the habit of having breakfast together and then going to the Cardassian sauna, and both enjoyed the time together. By tacit agreement neither mentioned the conversation they'd had in Odo's office.

Garak didn't like to admit it, but he was beginning to feel as if his day didn't really begin until he had seen Ziyal and knew she was well and getting stronger every day. Soon she'd be totally recovered, which he was glad of.

"Good morning, my Dear" Garak greeted as he did every morning.

"Good morning," she replied before sipping her drink. As usual Garak had ordered her drink for her and had it waiting.

"How are you feeling?"

"Well enough not to need the pain killer this morning," She told him. Ziyal was almost afraid to tell him of her recovery, afraid that once she was well he'd quit spending time with her.

"That is good news," he replied, then sipped his own drink.

"Kira asked me to join her for lunch. I think she wants to lecture me on spending so much time with you," Ziyal informed him.

"And what will you tell her?" Garak asked, genuinely curious.

"That I am more than old enough to choose who I spend my time with," Ziyal said. While she loved Kira as an older sister, and respected her opinion, she was determined to spend any time with Garak that she could. She could feel them growing closer, and hoped that he'd soon be able to admit that they belonged together, were right for each other.

A slight smile twisted Garak's lips before he hid it by sipping his drink.

"Come on in, Ziyal," Kira called a few hours later. She took the final dish of food from the replicator and sat it on the table as Ziyal walked in.

"Hello, Kira."

"How are you feeling today?"

"Well enough not to need any pain killers," she replied. "I'm better every day."

"I'm glad," Kira said as they sat down.

It was quiet for a time as they ate, but the silence was comfortable.

"You've been spending a lot of time with Garak," Kira finally said.

"I know. We've been to the Cardassian sauna program every day. I think it's helped my recovery," Ziyal answered. She hoped to show Kira that her time with Garak was good for her.

Kira just nodded. "Nothing I say will change your mind, will it?"

"Could anyone say anything to make you quit loving Odo?"

"No," Kira admitted.

Meanwhile Garak and Bashir were having their weekly lunch.

"I notice you and Ziyal are spending a great deal of time together," Julian began.

"I thought you'd like to know that someone is keeping an eye on your patient," Garak replied.

Julian had to force himself not to roll his eyes. "Yes. I'm sure you are 'keeping an eye' on her. She's a beautiful girl."

"I think you mean a beautiful woman," Garak corrected.

"A very young woman," Julian compromised. "Who has been through a great deal recently."

"Which is just why she shouldn't be left alone," Garak returned.

"I just hope you know what you're doing," Julian said.

"Spending time with someone. . . who's company I enjoy."

With a sigh Julian changed the subject.


Lady Henrietta: Thanks! I'll keep working on this story. Glad you like the pairing.

Inyri: I was also mad when Damar killed her. It was sad. Thank you!

Code: Yep, it was cruel not to let them have a chance. I also love the idea of Garak and Ziyal together ;-) Thanks you!

Csi-ds9: Glad you like the idea. THANKS!