Each in his prison

"Incarceration doesn't seem to bother you much," said Odo. "One might almost believe you're used to it."

Garak – who had been imagining walking across the northern plain where the sky was limitless and there wasn't a wall or a hemline in sight – rolled onto his side. Odo was his most stalwart visitor, here every morning around breakfast. Ziyal came every other day. Bashir had not been once.

"Tailoring teaches patience," Garak said.

As had the Order. Idly, but watchfully, he said, "Besides, we're all imprisoned one way or another, aren't we?"

The new hairs on the constable's arm stood up.

The key

Boredom had always been a sore trial, hence his addiction to the life he'd once led. The station had never provided much in the way of stimulation, and a holding cell provided even less. Garak hungered for each one of Ziyal's quiet and steady visits, craved a sight of Bashir – but contemplating Odo absorbed him most. What must it be like to experience fleshliness for the first time? To eat, to drink, to love? What would it be like to touch a man like this? To show him how freedom felt?

Garak had never quite learned to discipline his mind.

Awful daring

When the six months were up, Odo opened the door and Garak stepped out into a slightly larger prison. "A most salutary experience. I feel an entirely new man."

"Go away, Garak."

Garak smiled, gently. "Thank you, constable, for being such reliable company."

Odo grunted. "Thank you for the distraction you provided when I was ill."

"My pleasure." Garak risked a tug of the other man's tunic. "You've lost weight. I should take that in."

"I'll come by the shop."

They stared at each other: torture and xenocide and exile between them.

"Breakfast tomorrow?"

"I should like that very much."