truth A:link {text-decoration: none; cursor: none;} A:visited {text-decoration: none; cursor: none;} A:hover {COLOR: white; background: black;}

Timeline: circa In Purgatory's Shadow
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own Garak, Bashir or any of the other DS9 characters. They belong to Paramount.

When I see him in the internment camp my heart skips a beat. Not now. I can't take this. Already I have my father, the father who has refused to acknowledge the blood tie for so long, lying stiller than he ever has before. Isn't this enough for me to bear without seeing him? Julian?

I love him. Yes, dear doctor, I love you, although I have no doubt what you'd say if you knew the truth. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was making up another one of my elaborate lies, and who could blame you? For years now I've kept to my habit of only telling the truth when it's absolutely unavoidable.

This is one of those times when I want so badly to be able to stop lying, but it's grown so hard to even accept what is fact and what is fiction. I've tried to deny my feelings for him for so long.

But I love him. I have loved him ever since I first saw him, my beautiful, naïve, arrogant doctor. He was scared of me then, at our first meeting. It hurt me more than I would admit to myself. I knew he saw me as a mystery. I liked it. I just didn't want him to fear me.

All those lunches, all those conversations about literature and sociology and so many other subjects . . . does that mean anything to him? Is he still friends with me merely because I'm still an enigma, and the good doctor can't resist a mystery?

Please let it be more. Please.

Julian and his women . . . do any of them mean anything? I get jealous. I try so hard not to. I cover up my true feelings, something I like to think I do well, but as I grow older and my years in the Obsidian Order become further away, I slip up occasionally.

Not that he'd notice. In many ways he's as naïve as he was five years ago.

And now I see him here, in the place where we are doomed to spend what little remains of our lives - and all he can do is talk about blood tests and prison conditions and what has been happening on the station.

Doctor, please. Look into my eyes. Tell me that you love me.

Like the way your replacement did when I finally confessed my feelings. The way his face lit up in delight like a child getting an unexpected present, and then his lips parting to say, "I feel the same way."

Of course, it was that which made me suspicious of him. It was that which led me to keep a closer eye on him until I eventually discovered he was a shapeshifter. I never thought Julian would still be alive. I assumed the changeling had killed him before assuming his form.

And then when the message came from Tain - I had to go to him. I was grasping for someone, something tangible to make it all better, to make the pain go away.

Now he's alive, and I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this. My initial instinct is to cry with relief, to tell him in no uncertain terms how much I care about him.

In the Obsidian Order you learn to suppress your instincts.

We might die here. No. We're going to get out. We're going to escape. If only so that I can avoid having to tell the truth.