DISCLAIMER: Star Trek, Star Trek:Deep Space Nine and its characters are copyright Paramount and no infringement is intended. The (slightly adapted) words are from the song "The Head and the Heart" by Chris De Burgh, copyright A&M Records. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan 1997.
"He is sleeping now, softly in the night, in my heart of darkness he has been the only light. I am lost in love, looking at his face and still I hear the voice of reason telling me to chase these dreams away; ah here we go again, we're divided from the start. For we cannot live together and cannot live apart. It's the classical dilemma between the head and the heart."
I had never realised before how even a sleepless night can be a beautiful thing - when you're in the right company of course. And he is, in my eyes at least, the perfect company. Julian Bashir - the sweet, trusting, fragile human who has so unexpectedly brought such joy to my previously dull and meaningless existence. I could sit here all night, simply watching him sleep, and consider it time well spent. Conversely though, Julian, and this unlikely relationship which has blossomed between us, are the very reason for my sleeplessness...
|Look, see how the faint starlight from the viewport casts shadows on the smooth planes of his cheeks. It is still strange to me that such an unadorned face can seem so beautiful to me now. Once I would only have found beauty in the ridges and whorls of cartilage on a Cardassian face, discounting the possibility of there being any merit in so plain and featureless a countenance.|
|Click for full size illustration|
How times change; how people change. If I care to be honest with myself I have changed more than most - and I still could not say if it is for the better or not.
Once I had power, status, a measure of wealth. I even thought that it was enough, but now I realise that while the trappings were there it was a hollow existence. All the time my heart was empty. Oh, I loved Cardassia well enough. I held a fierce loyalty to the Order - or to be more exact, to Tain. But with the benefit of hindsight I can see that all those feelings were on my side alone. They were never reciprocated. See how quickly Tain cast me aside - not once, but twice! And even my own world turned against me, leaving me exiled. So, in the end, all the emotion I invested was as nothing.
Now things are very different. The feelings I have, the sentiments I experience are shared and returned in full measure. I see it in those wide, hazel eyes every time he looks at me. Yet it is a frightening thing for me, to be the recipient of such unconditional affection. At least when my love and loyalty were unrequited I was never afraid...
What are you doing to me, sweet Julian? You have even taken away my last resort - the implant. I can no longer rely on its false promise when the sharp edges of reality cut too deep. All the disgrace, the degradation I endured during my trial and exile to DS9 did not hurt as much as the simple fear that you might tire of me and leave me alone once again.
How could I have let this happen to me? I am no longer the master of my own destiny - you are. Or is that entirely true? I could end this relationship myself, put a stop to it here and now. That much control at least is still mine. I could tell you that it simply isn't working out between us. A lie, of course, but then I'm good at lies. I always have been. And you are trusting enough to believe me.
Ah, but I can just imagine the look in those beautiful eyes of yours, Julian, if I were to tell you it was all over. I can already see the hurt, the puzzlement... and oh, such irony, even the thought of your pain hurts me. How weak I have become!
"Now the dawn begins, and still I cannot sleep. My head is spinning round and round, the way is clear to me. There is nothing left, nothing left to show the jury and the judge will see it's time to let him go. It's time to let him go. I don't want to let him go."
How many hours have I been sitting here, wide awake? My head aches from the lack of sleep, but my thoughts continue to chase themselves round and round in circles, denying me any chance of rest. In all that time the cause of my sleeplessness has lain at my side, blissfully unaware of the turmoil he is causing me. Ah, and in his youthful innocence perhaps there are other things of which the good doctor remains in ignorance.
In arguing the pros and cons of this fledgling relationship I have only considered the dangers to myself. It is an understandable standpoint, naturally, but selfish of me nonetheless - what then of Julian? What damage might he be doing to his reputation, his career by pursuing an association with a disgraced ex-member of the Cardassian Obsidian Order? How is that going to look on his psychological profile? Oh, I know that humans have no taboos regarding same-sex relationships in these times, but what do his superiors think motivated his choice of partner?
Do they perhaps believe that he came to me because he harboured a desire to be dominated by a more experienced, stronger male? It isn't true of course. Our relationship has been, from the first, an equal one - and, strange as it may seem to those who think they understand Cardassian sexuality, I am glad that it is so. I have learned there is a very special pleasure in giving up everything one is to someone you trust absolutely - and trust him I do. I did not think I could learn to place all my faith in another again, but with Julian it came so naturally. It is perhaps the most precious of the gifts he has given to me.
Still, would it occur to a Starfleet officer or a Bajoran to think that might be so? They have seen the worst that Cardassians can be - the war, the occupation. No, more likely those who will have cause to judge Julian's preferences will remember only what I was in the past. Will they then believe that I am teaching him to find pleasure in pain? Could it even be that they think I have taken him unwilling?
Surely not, if so would they not have tried to interfere when we stepped across that boundary which divides those who are lovers from those who are merely close friends? To be honest, his colleagues have been, if not exactly overjoyed at his choice of partner, at least supportive of his right to make that choice.
It proves nothing though - except perhaps that I still do not understand humans! How I wish that I did. My decision would then be so much easier to make. All I can say with any certainty is that I do not want to hurt you, my Julian. In truth though I simply do not know if I will hurt you more by continuing this relationship or by putting an end to it now.
"Now hear the heart... Oh, I believe that time will show he will always be a part of my world, I don't want to see him go. So I plead my case to hear the heart and stay. It's time to let him go. I don't want to let him go..."
Ah, you are waking; I am glad that one of us at least has had an untroubled night. And still I am left with this unenviable choice... What face do I wear to greet you, my love? Can I take the risk, for both of us, of continuing as Elim, your lover? Or should I revert to being merely plain and simple Garak, your sometime lunch companion? In all the hells...
Julian Bashir stretched languidly as he woke, blinking blearily into the darkness.
"Lights, twenty five percent." The computer obeyed the quietly voiced command and the room was bathed in a soft wash of light, just enough for human eyes to see.
Julian was met by the sight of Garak sitting up in bed at his side, his knees drawn up to his chest. The Cardassian was watching the young human intently as he came to full wakefulness, bright blue eyes almost luminous in the semi-darkness. His expression was quite unreadable. Julian smiled up at him tentatively.
"Good morning, didn't you sleep well, love?" he asked softly - his concern that of a doctor as well as a lover.
"I simply wasn't tired. I hope I didn't disturb you," replied Garak soothingly, if not entirely truthfully.
"Not at all," Julian assured him. "The only thing that would disturb me would be waking up and finding you weren't here," he added honestly.
Does he guess what kept me awake? How could he? Or have I truly become so transparent to him? Garak closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, holding it for a long moment. Finally he released it, letting out the tension which had kept him from sleeping along with the exhaled air. He leaned down, placing a soft kiss on Julian's lips.
"Don't worry," he murmured as he drew back. "I'm not planning on being anywhere else when you wake in the foreseeable future."
Julian's brilliant smile was all the confirmation Garak needed to reassure him that he had indeed made the right choice.
"In this classical dilemma, I find for the heart."
The artwork is copyright BGM and originally appeared in "Doctor, Tailor, Officer, Spy 2"
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