Title: A Kiss Goodbye

Pairing: Garak/Bashir, mention of Garak/Ziyal

Rating/Warnings: PG-13

Word Count: 867

Summary: It's been a long time since Garak was last kissed...

Notes: A stand-alone story set during "Call to Arms".

Things were about to go straight to hell - again - yet at the moment all Garak could think about was a young woman's kiss.

He walked along the ground floor of the Promenade at a strolling pace with both hands lightly clasped behind his back. The station was almost deserted but a light crowd still congregated near Quark's; he studied them carefully, many familiar faces, most of them drawn with worry or wide-eyed with outright apprehension, but nobody in Starfleet uniform. Most Federation personnel had withdrawn from the station days ago and the few that were left were in the process of departing. Nor were there any Bajorans: they had likewise been evacuated, including Ziyal, whose unexpected kiss was what Garak was currently pondering.

It had been a very long time - years, in fact - since anyone had kissed him. The last had come from a Riberian trader who'd stopped by the station to sell his silks and ended up spending a night in Garak's bed. It had been a moment of weakness he'd mocked himself for quite soundly afterwards, but there'd at least been a plausible excuse: it had been only two weeks since that wretched implant had been deactivated and he'd still been emotionally and physically off-balance from Doctor Bashir's quite inexplicable acts of bravery and compassion on his behalf. And it had only been a single night, scarcely worth considering, really.

Ziyal, though... the girl was in love with him. That was both awkward and inconvenient, and could end up being quite dangerous to both of them. She was many things, including resourceful, intelligent and brave, but she was no warrior and Garak still had many enemies. That he was passingly fond of her himself only added complexity to the puzzle.

I should have laughed at her, he thought as he observed Constable Odo pass by on the other side, observing in his turn. Or better yet slapped her for her presumption. It would have made things easier in the long run. But... well, it had been a long time since he'd been kissed, and the contact had not been unwelcome.

Garak sighed under his breath. Tain was right, he mused. I've grown soft, living here. In the old days I would have struck her, or just taken her for my pleasure long since. But I suppose that Human saying is true about being in Rome and -


He paused, turning to see Bashir headed straight toward him with a determined stride, and he shook off his pensive mood with a welcoming smile. "Doctor! I thought you'd already be on board the -"

He wasn't expecting his friend to walk right through their standard conversational range. He wasn't expecting Bashir to take hold of his waist and pull him into direct physical contact. And he certainly wasn't expecting to be soundly kissed.

Well well, he thought through the pleasant and perplexing shock of the warm Human mouth on his, twice in one day! If I'm not careful I could get used to this.

When Bashir finally pulled back just enough to let him speak he drew a deep breath and opened his eyes to meet an intense, almost defiant hazel gaze. "Not that I'm complaining," he said cautiously, "but what exactly brought this about?"

"I should have done that a long time ago," Bashir said quietly, evidently uncaring that people were starting to stare. Garak realized that his arms had encircled the Human's slender form in return, and briefly reflected that his self-control wasn't what it once was. "Captain Sisko's ordered all remaining Starfleet personnel off the station. I've got to go -" His eyelids lowered to half-mast, emphasizing his enchanting lashes. "- but I'll be back. And when that happens..." He raised his right hand to Garak's jaw, elegant fingertips pressing the line of his aural scales. "I expect to find you here, still alive."

"My dear Doctor." Ah, those lips! Garak already wanted another kiss. "I have nowhere else to go, and I'm nothing if not a survivor."

"I'm glad to hear it. Because we have a lot to talk about."

This time they both moved in, and Garak was aware that they'd become the focus of quite a lot of attention. But it was eminently worth it, and when their lips parted again he murmured: "Then I'll be looking forward to your safe return."

Bashir - Julian, now, because if this didn't qualify Garak to use the Human's given name, what did? - nodded and withdrew from their embrace with obvious reluctance. He looked around, taking in the watching crowd, including Odo, who had crossed the hallway to stand about three meters away, his blue eyes disbelieving. Julian nodded as he walked past him - "Constable." - and set off, no doubt for a turbolift to take him to the docking ring.

Garak met Odo's questioning gaze and shrugged. "Don't look at me. I'm just as surprised as you are."

Odo snorted and moved on, leaving Garak to his thoughts again. Only now he had a great deal more to think about, his mind already starting to spin a new plan. Perhaps it was time to go and talk to Captain Sisko about the Defiant's pressing need for a good tailor on board in times of war...