He tapped his fingers against the terminal, licking his lips absently as he tried to think. It had been a few months since the last letter, the last time he'd heard his old friend's words combing through his head, pulling from him sympathy, horror and of course, distrust. Julian wanted to believe it, wanted to believe all of it. He wanted to be convinced that this time, finally, Garak had been telling the whole truth about himself. But the suspicion remained and he found himself wanting to hold onto it. It was some small part of how they used to be.

The only problem was-- whether those letters were completely true or not--Julian had yet to write anything of substance back. Oh yes, he'd done paltry little things with all the usual sentiments but that was only because he wasn't sure what to say. It seemed so...absurdly intimate somehow to know so much...or think he did... It was as if Garak was attempting to open himself completely and...well...it was a great deal to wrap his head around.

But this was it. This time he was going to write something deep, meaningful-- After all what good was a genetically enhanced brain if he couldn't use it?

"Computer, make an entry," He blurted before he lost his nerve...again. The computer beeped in acknowledgement." Garak. How are you? All things going well down there? Things are fine here. I'm fine. Everyone's fine and apparently this drivel is meant for some old distant aunt because I'm certainly not going to send this to you." He ran a hand through his hair. "Delete entry."

"Entry deleted."

"New Entry..." He straightened, straightening his uniform. He could do this. He was capable. Julian rolled his head from one side to the other to release the tension in his neck and took a deep breath.

"Garak." He smiled. "It's been so long since I've said your name...I wish I could say it to you from across a lunch table. I'm sure you're busy. I would love to come some day and see how much you have been telling me is really true-- Computer delete that last sentence. Let's try not to make an utter ass of ourselves shall we?" He glared at the terminal. Then stood up, pacing the confines of his quarters. He had duty in thirty minutes. He had to get this letter off before then.

"I would dearly love to visit you, to see this world you've been describing. It sounds..." he searched the air for the word. "Nice." Wonderful vocabulary. Really. Garak would be enthralled. Leave it for now, leave it for now. Move on. With what? An anecdote. Yes something funny from the station...that Garak would appreciate... but what? They lived in two separate worlds most of the time. Well there was that once incident...

"You know a few weeks after you left I went down to your shop and like an idiot I walked inside because I wanted to say hallo. A Bolian owns it now. He looked rather bemused. I'd forgotten you weren't there. I guess I'm so used to you being around. I miss our lunch." He stopped pacing and looked out at the stars, endless endless stars. "I miss you..." he murmured.

He could be at Cardassia in two weeks. For what? To see Garak in a broken world? To see the truth and lies of Garak's life cracked open and spilled out in front of him. It felt like an invasion of privacy somehow.

Julian shook his head free of the thoughts. He needed to concentrate.

"Computer, replay last entry," he said, still gazing out into space. He listened for a moment to his own voice. Sounding at first polite and strained and slowly blossoming to warmth and sincerity. The last sentence echoed in his head like a musical phrase. I miss you. I miss you. It was like some appendage he didn't even know he had was suddenly gone. That was ridiculous of course he didn't even know Garak that well. Then why did it feel so...so...

"Sickbay to Bashir," came a voice over his comm badge. He took a deep breath and pressed it.

"Bashir here."

"There was a fight in the promenade. We've got some pretty serious casualties down here."

"On my way." Now he really had to get going. He stared at the terminal. It wasn't perfect. It wasn't perfect but he hadn't sent anything in quite a while.

"Computer," he said. The computer beeped. Waiting. Waiting. Send transmission, was on the tip of his tongue. Send it. Send it. You might not get another chance. He curled his hand into a fist.

"Delete entry," he said, regretting it as soon as he said it. He could always retrieve it. It would just take a command. Sick Bay called at him. Casualties serious enough to call him meant the victims were either very important or very near death. Julian shook his head and strode from the room. He would try again...tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow. Or there was that conference tomorrow so maybe next week. Yes.

Yes that was for the best.