Jump to content
Sneeze Fetish Forum

Heal What Has Been Hurt (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)


Recommended Posts

I've gotten back into Star Trek over the last few years, and as one might expect, that led to having some fetishy inspiration (read; "I want to torture the characters I find attractive"). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

That being said, I have to give a gigantic SPOILER WARNING. This story has strong connections to two big plot twists that come in the middle of Season Five of Deep Space Nine. Therefore, I'd avoid reading this if you have any interest in watching the show yourself. And I definitely think it's worth seeing; this is my favorite Trek show for a wide variety of reasons. I'd take less readers now if it meant more people were willing to give the show a look.

One final note to alleviate confusion: when I have full sentences in italics, it's a shorthand for representing the fact that the persion talking isn't actually in the room and being spoken to via communicator. That seemed the best way to represent the way it would be if this was actually on the show.


Two weeks to the day after the inadvertent reveal of his biggest secret, Julian Bashir woke up ill. He didn’t even need to grope for a tricorder to know that the headache, mild chills, lack of energy, and blocked nose were symptoms of some sort of virus. Given that there had been no reports of the biofilters being down and that he hadn’t been handling any viral samples lately, the only conclusion was that he’d been exposed to a new virus, presumably from the Gamma Quadrant.

While this might prove to be a problem for the station, it wasn’t an insurmountable one. For all he knew, the usual catch-all hypospray would solve the problem instantly, and it would just be a matter of quickly inoculating the rest of the station. With a groan, Julian got out of bed, sluggishly pulled on his uniform in-between sips of tea with honey, replicated a facemask just in case, and dragged himself to the Infirmary, both to determine the cause of the illness and to (hopefully) alleviate the worst of the symptoms.

A quick scan of himself with a medical tricorder confirmed that there was a cold virus in his system, though there didn’t seem to be anything particularly unusual about it that indicated it came from another race or species. But since the Gamma Quadrant hypothesis was still the only one that made sense, Julian decided to let the matter rest for the time being until he determined where he’d picked up this virus. Thankfully, a quick injection of the catch-all hypospray cleared his head and made him feel much better (though he left the mask on just as a precaution), which allowed him to concentrate on narrowing down which patient this had come from.

But after looking over his records for the past week and cross-checking it with a list of people who had arrived from the Gamma Quadrant, his investigation turned up empty. Only three people fit the requirements, and none of them had had any sort of exposure to new aliens, climates, or substances. Confused, Julian sent a message to both Captain Sisko and Constable Odo, informing them of the situation and asking them to send anyone showing similar symptoms to the Infirmary. Then he started on his work for the day, pushing any worries about this potential new virus to the back of his mind. There wasn’t much he more could do about it at the moment, after all.

Four hours later, there had been no reports of anyone else feeling sick, which Julian took as a welcome but puzzling sign. He didn’t have much time to wonder about it, though; as he stood up from his desk to take a look at his prion experiments, his head spun, his vision blurred, and a sudden itch in his nose forced him to throw his hands up to his face as a matter of habit. “Heh-TCHHH!!!

The force of the sneeze snapped him forward, nearly bending him double, and he could feel a faint misting on his hands despite the protective covering of the mask. Stunned and a little disgusted, he cleaned his hands thoroughly before taking a medical tricorder from Nurse Tagana, who had rushed into the room the minute she’d heard him sneeze and had been hovering around anxiously ever since. “Anything?” she asked, once he’d had a minute to examine himself.

“It’s not good,” Julian answered, setting the tricorder down and making his way over to where they kept the hyposprays, “The injection I gave myself doesn’t seem to have fully eradicated the virus. My temperature’s already increased by a degree, and I can feel some of my other symptoms coming back. Clearly, there’s something going on, but I’m afraid I’m not going to be in any condition to look into it. I’m going to have to leave it up to you and the rest of the medical staff.”

Putting the hypospray to his arm, he took a blood sample and set it on the counter. “Do whatever tests you think are necessary to determine what this is,” he said, “And contact me the moment you find anything useful. Wear gloves and facemasks and disinfect all workstations once you’re finished with them. I’ll inform Captain Sisko of the situation once I…”

He trailed off as the itch in his nose returned full force, making him cup his hands over his face again. “ITSHHH!!!

Tagana murmured a Bajoran blessing before inadvertently finishing his sentence. “Get back to your quarters, Doctor,” she said, giving him a reassuring smile, “We’ll take it from here. All you should worry about right now is recovering. I’ll have someone bring you some fever reducers and decongestants once we determine which ones are most effective against this particular strain.”

Julian nodded, cleaned his hands again, and then tried to make it back to his quarters as fast as he could, wanting to expose as few people to him as possible. The virus didn’t want to make it easy for him, however, and by the time the doors to his quarters closed behind him, he was shivering, panting, and felt on the verge of collapse. Tempting as it was to just climb into bed and pass out, Julian forced himself to dispose of the facemask and change back into his pajamas, knowing he would ultimately be more comfortable that way. Then he contacted Captain Sisko to update him on the situation.

Well, there’s no denying that you sound awful,” Sisko said once Julian had finished, “So I have to imagine that anyone else who has this virus is in a similar position. Should make them relatively easy to spot.

“Unless they’ve done the smart thing and are staying in bed.” Julian pointed out.

 Which is where you should be, Doctor,” Sisko responded, “Get some rest, and consider yourself off-duty until this has all been figured out. Just make sure your staff keeps me informed.

“You’ll be the second to…to know,” Julian promised, deactivating his comm badge seconds before another sneeze burst out of him. “HETCHH!!!

Groaning, he pressed his hand against his nose to keep it from running too badly, then went to the sink to wash his hands. Even if there was no one else in the room to infect, Julian wasn’t about to take any chances. He had left the bathroom and was just about to crawl into bed when he spotted the replicator and realized there was one last item that he needed. Sniffling thickly in an attempt to make his words legible, he said “One dozen handkerchiefs, white.”

The replicator hummed and produced a stack of thick white cloths. Julian grabbed them and placed them on his nightstand in easy reach, before tucking one in the breast pocket of his pajamas and finally burrowing under the covers. The last thing he remembered before passing out was asking the computer to increase the heat in the room by three degrees.


Infirmary to Doctor Bashir.

Julian was startled awake by the chirp of his comm badge, but it took a minute for him to register what was happening and another minute to actually pick up and activate the badge, by which point Tagana had repeated “Infirmary to Doctor Bashir” five times. “Bashir here,” he said, wincing at the sound of his voice, “I’m sorry.”

Don’t be, it means you were probably sleeping. I’ve got good news and bad news.

“I’ll take the bad news first.”

Actually, you need to hear the good news first, which is that this isn’t a Gamma Quadrant virus. It’s also highly unlikely to be contagious, so you don’t have to worry about inadvertently starting an epidemic.

“That’s a relief,” Julian said, rubbing his nose with a handkerchief, “What’s the bad news, then?”

Well, we ran every test we could think of and tried every cure we had. All of them will suppress the symptoms for a few hours, but none of them successfully destroy the virus. Then we had the computer check it against known viruses, and we found a near-perfect match.

“Which was?”

A common cold virus from Earth. Nothing out of the ordinary, and something that normally responds to both vaccines and the biofilters. Except that when we superimposed it over your virus, there was a discrepancy. We ran a few more tests, and finally think we figured it out.

Tagana paused for a second, but spoke again before Julian could prompt her. “You seem to have developed a stress virus.

“Come again?”

“From what we can tell, your body responded to a stressful situation by, for lack of a better word, spontaneously generating a cold. We’re not entirely sure how it happened, but there’s a lot of reports in the database about stress causing illness, and that seems to be the most logical conclusion.

Julian was silent for a minute. Then he said “Is there anything I can do about it?”

Just the usual. Bedrest, hot drinks, that sort of thing. I’ll send you those medications, too—they only work for four hours, but it’ll keep you from feeling too wretched.

“I can only hope,” Julian said dryly, “Thank you, Tagana. I’ll inform the Captain. Bashir out.”

As soon as he’d tapped the badge to deactivate it, he immediately reactivated it again. “Bashir to Captain Sisko.”

Go ahead.

“You can stop searching for any other sick people, Captain. It seems this is a virus that solely has it out for me.”

What?” Sisko said, a sharp note in his voice, “Does this have anything to do with…

“No,” Julian said quickly, “It’s stress-based. My body decided I’d been through too much recently, and decided to let me know by giving me a cold.”

As if to prove his point, he had to drop the comm badge to contain another sneeze. “KRSHHH!!!

Bless you, Doctor,” Sisko said, and Julian could practically hear the wince through the comm badge, “Will you be all right?

“I should be eventually, sir. As long as I rest, the cold should take the usual seven or so days to leave my system.”

All right, I’ll mark you as ‘on medical leave’ for the next week. Contact me again if you need more time after that.

“Thank you, Captain. Hopefully a week will be plenty. I don’t like being gone from the Infirmary any more than you like losing your Chief Medical Officer.”

Sisko chuckled faintly. “Just get the rest you need, Doctor. Sisko out.

Julian set the comm badge aside and fell back on his pillows, turning all the new information over in his mind. It didn’t take a genetically engineered mind to know exactly what was going on here. In fact, he was sure Sisko had already put the pieces together as well, and he wasn’t sure if he felt relieved or ashamed by that fact.

No one could deny that Julian had been under a lot of stress in the past three months. Being kidnapped and held in an internment camp for over a month was very much what one would call “a high stress situation”. But if that was the case, he should have fallen ill while he was still in the camp, or shortly after returning to the station. Not that Julian would have expected that; for him, being a prisoner was just one of the risks you ran in Starfleet, and his body and mind seemed to be in agreement with that. No, the harsh conditions, beatings, fear for his friends, and threat of death hadn’t been the problem. It had been what came after that had caused this breakdown.

Upon returning to Deep Space Nine, it had taken some time to readjust. Things had changed while he’d been away, from Kira having her baby to brand new uniforms. None of those had been an issue; the fact that barely anybody seemed to have missed him had. The changeling that had impersonated him had fooled everyone, which was bad enough, but other than wondering what security measures they could take to prevent things like this from happening again, the response to the revelation had been…muted. Once he’d been debriefed and given a medical exam, everyone seemed content to just try to forget about what had happened. In fact, the only person who had commented on the situation was Chief O’Brien, and even then it had been in service of a teasing joke at Julian’s expense. Julian assumed it was because everything had turned out well and because there wasn’t much to be done after the fact, and had tried to follow everyone else’s example and put the incident behind him.

Then, just as he was finally starting to feel comfortable again, his parents had accidentally revealed his genetic engineering.

It may have ended well—if you can call your father being in prison “ending well”—but all those little doubts, all the nagging insecurities that Julian had nearly put to rest after his imprisonment came roaring back full force, now compounded by the knowledge that everyone knew what he was, and that some people were undoubtedly judging him for it, even if they were too polite to say it to his face. Given all that, it was a wonder he hadn’t fallen ill sooner. Or was that another thing he could thank his genetic engineering for, a hardier immune system?

EKSHHH!!!” Julian sneezed again, snapping him out of his thoughts. He could tell this latest sneeze had soaked the handkerchief, and he pushed it to the far corner of the nightstand before taking a fresh one. This was why he’d chosen handkerchiefs over tissues; there was less of a mess to clean up. Sighing, he pulled the blankets a little tighter around him and picked up the padd he’d been reading before falling ill, hoping to keep himself awake long enough for the medications to arrive. It was certainly better than imagining what sort of rumors were flying around the Promenade about him at this very moment.


Julian had just settled back in bed after dragging himself to the replicator (for a pitcher of water, a cup of tea, and another dozen handkerchiefs) when his door chimed. “Come in.” he called out hoarsely, before putting the handkerchief to his mouth to muffle a few sharp coughs. The medicine Tagana had sent kept his throat from hurting, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t still irritate it by overextending his voice.

The door hissed open, and a female voice said “Doctor? Are you up for receiving visitors?”

“For a few minutes,” Julian said, taking a sip of tea and sitting up in the hope of appearing semi-presentable, “Come in, Major.”

Kira entered his bedroom, giving him a slightly teasing smile, which was odd enough. What was even odder was the fact that she was holding a vase full of grey-green leaves and a smattering of dark blue flowers. “What’s this?” Julian asked, grateful that the decongestants still seemed to be doing their job.

“I thought I’d return the favor,” Kira said, “You kept an eye on me when I was incapacitated and sneezing. And from what I hear, you may not be sneezing as much as I was, but you make up for it in volume.”

“Just pray you don’t get a chance to find out for yourself,” Julian said with a faint laugh, “I don’t want to be held responsible for deafening our first officer.”

“I’ve been near bombs when they detonated,” Kira pointed out, “I think I can handle one sneeze.”

“We’ll see,” Julian answered, before pointing to the vase, “If I could ask…”

 “It’s a get well soon present,” Kira said, setting it on the dresser opposite Julian’s bed, “From me and your medical staff. I had the idea, Jabara got the vase, Hortak got the Cesiaka, and Tagana had it blessed in the temple before I brought it here.”

“Cesiaka?” Julian repeated, “I’m sure it’s a Bajoran plant, but I’ve never heard of it before.”

“There’s no reason you should have heard of it,” Kira assured him, “It doesn’t have medicinal properties, and we don’t use it in any religious rites. I just thought it would be fitting, that’s all.”

“Why?” Julian pressed, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative of the gesture, but if there’s a specific reason behind it, I’d like to know.”

Kira started arranging the plants in the vase. “Cesiaka is a shrub that only grows in certain climates, generally in mountainous areas. They’re too small to hide behind, too bitter to eat, and are too rough to use as bandages. But they’re some of the toughest plants I’ve ever seen. Heavy rains, snow, high winds, avalanches…they’ll outlast them all. The only way to get rid of them is to rip them out by the roots, and those roots run deep. I saw one once that was almost as tall as I was once you factored in the root system. I also once saw a shrub that had been hacked down by a passing Cardassian patrol; when I was back in that area a month later, it had grown four inches and was starting to bud.”

She set the last stem back in the vase and stepped back to admire her handiwork. “The Resistance in my section of Bajor loved them,” she continued, “We adopted them as one of our unofficial symbols. I know my cell used it as a code word, and I’m sure other cells did too. Ever since then, I’ve admired them. And it made more sense to give you a vase full of them then of some flowers that will probably be wilting by the time you’re well enough to leave your quarters.”

Julian smiled. “Thank you, Nerys. I appreciate all the time and effort you and the others must have gone through to put this together.”

“It was nothing,” Kira said with a shrug, “It seemed like the least I could do after all you did for me during my pregnancy. And at least you don’t have to eat the plants I give you.”

Julian laughed at that, even if he had to stop after a few moments to cough. “Very true,” he acknowledged, “In fact, you’d probably be insulted if I did.”

“No, I’d just think your illness was messing with your mind,” Kira said, before adding, “Speaking of which, how are you feeling? I promised Ops I’d tell them how you were doing.”

“As well as can be expected,” Julian said, “I’m not dying, I’m just tired, slightly sore, and, well…somewhat messy.”

“Messy?” Kira began, but Julian held up a hand, pointed to his face, and then got the handkerchief in place. “IKTSHHH!!!

Lowering the handkerchief, he gestured to his face again. “Messy.” he repeated, before putting the handkerchief back to his face to wipe away the mucus.

Kira blinked at him for a moment before laughing. “Sorry,” she said, “But it’s good to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor.”

“Laughter is the best medicine,” Julian said, seconds before being forced to cough into his handkerchief, “I’m sorry, but I think that’s all the energy I have at the moment. I need to rest.”

“Of course,” Kira said, “I’ll leave you be. I hope I’ll see you around the station again soon enough.”

“I hope so too,” Julian said, “Until then, Major.”

Kira gave him a quick wave before disappearing through the door. When she had gone, Julian picked up his cup of now lukewarm tea and slowly finished it, looking over the vase of Cesiaka as he did so. Kira’s arrangement wasn’t exactly artistic, but he appreciated the effort all the same.


Julian groaned and set aside another soaked handkerchief. It had been two full days since he’d been put on bedrest, and he still felt like hell. The cold had firmly settled into his head, making it hard to focus on anything, he was struck by bouts of shivering every time his medication wore off, and the sneezing had become more frequent, but no less powerful. As a result, he wasn’t sure what to do with himself during the times when he was awake. For now, the best he had come up with was sipping at various liquids and trying to work his way through a novel he’d read before. He was pretty sure he was only absorbing every other sentence, but at least it was something.

About the only bright spots in his day were when someone dropped by to look in on him, which happened far more often than he’d been expecting. Most of the time, it was one of his nursing staff checking to see if he needed more medication, but they always lingered for a few minutes, keeping him informed of what was going on in the infirmary, and occasionally mentioning some of the gossip that was going around the Promenade. He appreciated the updates and was always sad to see them go, although he resisted the temptation to ask questions. With him gone, the Infirmary needed all the staff it could get.

What surprised him more were the visits by non-medical personnel. First it had been Kira and the Cesiaka. Then Jake Sisko had come round, initially to ask if he could use the medical database to get more details about a bacteria for a story he was working on, but then sheepishly asking if he could model one of the characters after Julian (it hadn’t taken long for Julian to say yes). And now today, Captain Sisko had been the one to pay a visit, saying he wanted to get a personal update on Julian’s condition. He’d even offered to cook something that he swore would clear Julian’s sinuses. Julian had tried to protest, saying the Captain shouldn’t go to that much trouble just for one person, but Sisko had waved off his concerns and said he’d bring it by that evening. All Julian could do was thank him, and privately hope the food he received wasn’t too spicy; the last thing he needed was a burnt tongue on top of everything else.

As he was mulling that over, the door chimed. “Come in.” he called out as loud as he dared, wondering if that was Sisko, back already. He was pretty sure it was still relatively early, but then again, he wasn’t in the best position to gauge the passage of time.

He was startled to see Commander Worf in the doorway, holding a steaming cup. “I hope I have not disturbed you.”

“Not at all,” Julian said, managing to sit up a little straighter on the bed, “What can I do for you, Commander?”

Worf held out the cup. “I wanted to offer you some Vrok’tuk, to aid your recovery.”

Julian’s eyes widened, and he tentatively reached for the cup. “Thank you, Commander. Did you replicate this, or…”

Worf shook his head. “Lieutenant Dax and I procured the ingredients from the owner of the Klingon restaurant and made it ourselves. It is much more effective when the ingredients are fresh.”

Julian nodded, very aware that Klingons preferred their food to still be wriggling if at all possible. Closing his hand around the cup, he lifted it in Worf’s direction. “Well then, my thanks to both you and Lieutenant Dax.”

With that, he put the cup to his mouth and took what he hoped was a big enough sip to satisfy Worf. Something viscous immediately coated his tongue, and he could feel a distinct chunk of…something…brush against the roof of his mouth. Swallowing immediately, Julian somehow managed to set the cup on the nightstand before succumbing to a fit of coughing. When he looked up, pounding on his chest to settle his lungs, he saw Worf nodding in satisfaction. “Good! The Vrok’tuk is already loosening the congestion in your chest. By the time you have finished with the drink, it will all be burned out of you.”

“Not literally, I hope,” Julian gasped, wiping at his eyes, “I don’t think a fire in my lungs will be much healthier for me.”

Before he could tell if Worf had registered that as a joke, his nose itched and he had to make a desperate grab for a fresh handkerchief. “HAKESHH!!!

Worf didn’t say anything in the aftermath of the sneeze, though Julian wasn’t too surprised; Klingon well-wishes generally revolved around hunts instead of health. But as he raised his head from the handkerchief, he saw Worf looking at him thoughtfully. “Commander?”

“You have the sneeze of a warrior,” Worf said, “I must confess I did not expect that from you.”

“Er…come again?” Julian said.

“The volume, the fact that it comes out quickly, the lack of subsequent sneezes…these are all traits that Klingon warriors aspire to. We do not want illness to slow us down, so if we must sneeze, better to get it over and done with. And if it startles potential predators, so much the better; it shows them that we are a force to be reckoned with.”

It did make a certain amount of sense, even if Julian couldn’t fully wrap his head around the concept. “I see.”

Worf looked him up and down. “Then again…you have been full of surprises as of late. Perhaps this should not be so unexpected.”

“Yes, well, perhaps the doctors on Adigeon Prime slipped a little bit of Klingon warrior inside me, just to cover all their bases.” Julian said, hoping his tone was joking instead of bitter.

“That is not what I meant,” Worf replied sharply, “I was thinking more of your actions in the prison. You worked with limited resources to bandage and clean the wounds I sustained, and General Martok told me it was much the same with him before I arrived. You also returned from your time in solitary confinement without any obvious physical or mental distress, which suggests that you were able to cope with those conditions very well. Even the most brilliant mind, augmented or otherwise, can be brought down if the spirit is weak. And your spirit, Doctor, is much stronger than I believe anyone realizes.”

Julian stared at him, at a complete loss for words. Worf nodded at him. “I should not keep you from your rest. I hope the Vrok’tuk allows you to return to work soon.”

Before Julian could say anything, Worf left the room, the door to his quarters hissing shut a few moments later. Julian stared after him, then shook his head and grabbed for the glass again. Sensation be damned, he’d drink as much of this as his body would allow.

He was in the middle of a second, even more violent coughing fit when he thought he heard the door chime again. Knowing it would be impossible to say “Come in”, Julian pulled himself out of bed, still coughing, and managed to make his way to the door panel, pushing the button to allow his guest access.

“Good God, you’re worse off than I thought,” said a voice with a very familiar Irish brogue, “Is that Worf’s doing, or is your body making up for years of perfect health?”

Julian just shook his head and waved O’Brien in, trying to get the coughing under control. “H-how did you know about Commander Worf?” he finally managed to gasp out.

“Lieutenant Dax told me she and Worf were going to be working on some Klingon cure for you once she got off duty. I immediately went round to Quark’s to get you something that would cure the cure.”

Julian wanted to ask what he meant by that, but he was interrupted by something even more pressing than the urge to cough. “KKSHHH!!!

Miraculously, the sneeze tearing at his throat seemed to stop the coughing for the time being, even if it caused him to stagger forward and nearly crash into the sofa. “Why don’t you take a seat?” O’Brien said, voice full of concern, “I’ll get you a blanket from your bed.”

“I’m not that cold,” Julian protested hoarsely, even as he sank onto the couch, “I’ve got another two hours before my medicine wears off, and I’ve raised the temperature in the room by five degrees. I’m comfortable enough, I promise.”

“That would explain why I’m sweating.” O’Brien said, mostly to himself. Nevertheless, he moved away from the bedroom door and took a seat next to Julian instead. “That little display aside, how’re you holding up?”

Julian shrugged. “My mind’s sluggish and my nose seems increasingly determined to fly off my face, but I’m not completely incapacitated. I suppose that’s the best one can hope for with a cold.”

O’Brien nodded. “Well, I’ve got something that might be able to help it along,” he said, holding out a mug of golden liquid, “And it’s got to taste better than whatever Worf and Dax cooked up.”

Julian took it and was about to sniff it when he realized it would be a pointless endeavor. “A hot toddy?” he guessed.

“Made with real alcohol,” O’Brien confirmed with a proud smile, “I had to shove Quark away so I could make it myself. I didn’t think he’d get the right ratio of alcohol to honey. Sure, it cost me a little more for the privilege, but I think it was worth it.”

Julian took a tentative sip. While he couldn’t taste it, the warmth felt wonderful as it slid down his throat and pooled in his stomach, and he gave O’Brien a grateful smile. “It’s perfect. Thank you, Chief.”

“Seemed the least I could do,” O’Brien said, clapping his hand on Julian’s shoulder, “After all, you’ve been giving me medicine for the past five years. I don’t know what I’d do without you looking after my shoulder.”

“Possibly give up kayaking and take better care of yourself.” Julian suggested.

O’Brien chuckled. “There, you see? You’ve still got your sense of humor. You’re not as bad off as it looks.”

“You may have spoken too soon…” Julian cautioned, waving a hand in front of his face as he got the handkerchief ready with the other, “KPSHHH!!!

“Bless you. But better out than in, I guess.”

“I’d probably rupture something if I kept them in,” Julian agreed, taking another sip of the toddy, “Though I’m just as likely to break something around me if I sneeze while standing up. All the more reason I should stay in bed for the duration, I suppose.”

“Do you need some help getting back there?” O’Brien asked, “Can’t have you bouncing off a wall by accident, can we?”

“I think I can manage. Besides, I could do with a change of scenery.”

“Well, you’re going to have to enjoy it alone, I’m afraid,” O’Brien said, getting to his feet, “I wish I could stick around and try to cheer you up, but I’ve got to get back to work. I just wanted to drop by and make sure you got the toddy.”

“Fair enough. Feel free to come round to visit anytime,” Julian said, hoping he didn’t sound too eager, “Like I said, I could use a little variety.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” O’Brien promised, before adding with a grin, “Hey, maybe I could bring a dart board! You being sick in bed might be the perfect handicap!”

Julian just laughed and waved him out. Once the door had closed behind O’Brien, Julian carefully got to his feet and made his way back to the bedroom, holding the toddy out to the side so it wouldn’t spill all over him if he needed to sneeze again. Fortunately, he made it to the bed without incident, though he did have to set the glass on top of his clean handkerchiefs as he got into bed. Once he was back under the covers, his eyes flicked between the toddy and the Vrok’tuk, trying to make up his mind. Finally, he grabbed the Vrok’tuk and took a smaller mouthful, anticipating the burn and exhaling to reduce the coughing. He’d drink as much of this as he could before it went cold, and use the toddy to soothe his throat when it got to be too much. Besides, if he could polish off the Vrok’tuk, then whatever Sisko was making for him would be easy to swallow.


“Computer, raise the temperature in the room by another two degrees.” Julian said, pressing a new dose of medicine to his neck before hugging himself to reduce the shivering.

Unable to comply,” the computer responded, “Current room temperature is at maximum limit.”

Julian sighed and sank down in the bed, curling in on himself to conserve as much heat as possible. He could attempt to override the limit, but it probably wasn’t worth it, especially since the shivering would subside in half-an-hour or so, assuming things stuck to the normal patterns.

He heard the door chime, and debated ignoring it. Whoever was at the door would assume he was asleep, so there wouldn’t be any hard feelings, and he’d probably be in better shape to receive visitors after the medicine took effect. If it was truly an emergency, they’d contact him on his comm badge.

Then the door chimed again, and Julian succumbed to his desire for company. “Come in.” he said, sitting up to receive the guest, only to pitch forward with a sneeze a second later. “HUSHHH!!!

“My goodness, Doctor, I seem to have got here just in time! Another few sneezes like that and your lungs will explode!”

“If they haven’t done so yet, they’re probably not going to in the near future,” Julian said, looking up at Garak with fond exasperation, “Though I’m surprised you weren’t already aware that this cold’s been particularly unkind to my nose; it seems like something that would be common knowledge by now.”

“While I have been paying close attention to any news about your condition that’s happened to cross my path, I assumed the descriptions of your symptoms were exaggerations. Dax and O’Brien are quite capable of embellishment, you know.”

“Well, they weren’t embellishing anything in this case,” Julian said, tucking the handkerchief into his pocket, “I’ve been able to reduce all my other symptoms, but this one has been particularly resistant to change.”

Garak tutted. “My deepest apologies, Doctor. It’s never pleasant to lose control like that, particularly in such an obvious way. Can we at least hope that the illness has nearly run its course?”

Julian shrugged. “I do seem to be gaining back some of my appetite, and it’s been a little easier to think today. On the other hand, my temperature always seems to jump up two degrees whenever the medication wears off.”

“I’d suspected as much when I walked in,” Garak said, “Considering that your room is at a temperature that I find tolerable for once. Could you get it any higher, perchance? I might as well take advantage of this opportunity.”

“I can’t,” Julian said almost apologetically, “The computer seems to think I’ve hit the maximum temperature.”

“By Starfleet standards, perhaps,” Garak said with a faint smile, “I’m sure some of the old Cardassian subroutines could be reactivated with the right pokes to the circuitry. But I don’t want to get either of us in trouble, so this will have to do instead.”

It was only then that Julian realized that Garak had been holding something in his hands the whole time. Lifting them into the air, Garak unfolded a blanket with a flourish, the cloth nearly obscuring his face as the other set of corners tumbled towards the floor. The blanket was bluish-grey, decorated with patterns that Julian assumed were Cardassian in design, and looked soft and warm even from this distance. “Garak, did you make this for me?”

“There’s a reason I haven’t come round to call until now,” Garak responded, stepping forward and draping the blanket around Julian’s shoulders, “The moment I heard that you were ill, I immediately devoted all my spare time to making a little something to help you through it.”

“A ‘little’ something?” Julian repeated in disbelief, “Garak, this must have taken you hours! This could cover the whole of my bed! It’s a wonderful thought, it really is, but you didn’t have to go to all this trouble to make me a blanket I probably won’t have much use for once the fever subsides.”

 “Blankets can be incredibly useful things,” Garak said, now arranging the blanket so it covered a fair amount of Julian’s legs as well, “I’m sure you’ll find something to do with it once you’re well. If nothing else, it can add a little more personality to your quarters. I’m sure it will be quite the talking point if guests see it draped across the sofa.”

Julian had to admit that he was already feeling a little warmer with the blanket wrapped around him. He tentatively rubbed his hand and cheek against the fabric, pleased to find that it was just as soft as it looked. “What is this made out of?”

“Omtickian Yak fur,” Garak answered, stroking the fur himself before stepping back, “Soft yet sturdy, and very good at retaining heat.”

“I can tell,” Julian said with appreciation, “Thank you, Garak. You really didn’t have to…”

“Didn’t I?” Garak said kindly, before adding “Bless you, Doctor.”

“What…” Julian began, then cut himself off as he grabbed for his handkerchief. “EPTSHHH!!!

Lowering the handkerchief, he looked at Garak in disbelief. “How did you know?”

“I’ll explain another time. You’re not well enough to absorb the full list of little details that made it obvious what was about to happen. Perhaps I’ll enlighten you at our next lunch. Can I expect your company next week, or will you still be fighting this particular battle?”

“I think I’ll be there,” Julian said, “Assuming my fever breaks in the next day or so, I should be able to return to light duties soon.”

“Very good,” Garak said, “And speaking of duties, I must unfortunately return to mine. I’ll try to look in on you again if my schedule permits. But if not, then best wishes for a quick recovery.”

He gave a quick wave and saw himself out, leaving Julian to shake his head at his friend’s mannerisms and return to burrowing under the covers to ride out the shivering. Though thanks to the new blanket, it didn’t seem like the process would take that long; the shaking was already down to a faint tremor, and the medicine wouldn’t be taking effect for at least another twelve minutes. He stroked the blanket, his fingers tracing the various patterns, and continue to marvel at Garak’s generosity. To put in so much time and effort just to help keep Julian warm…Garak’s intentions were always mysterious at the best of times, but this was a particularly odd decision on his part.

Julian paused in his tracing, a thought suddenly occurring to him. The cold may have been dulling his faculties, but his genetic engineering meant he was pretty quick on the uptake, even if it took his brain a little longer to process things than it usually did. In this case, it was telling him that there was more to this blanket business than it had first appeared, and he just needed to put all the pieces together. With nothing else to keep his mind occupied, Julian was happy to dedicate himself to that task. And after pulling out his handkerchief to catch another sneeze—“UPTSHH!!!”—he closed his eyes and got to work.


“Ah, Doctor, you’re back on your feet at last!” Garak said, smiling when he spotted Julian walking into the shop, “I take it you’re back to full health?”

“On the whole, yes,” Julian answered, “My nose still bothers me on occasion, but my energy and concentration are back to what they once were.”

“Excellent! So, what brings you to my shop? Our regular lunch date isn’t for another two days.”

“I just wanted to give this back to you,” Julian said, taking the blanket from behind his back and presenting it to Garak, “Don’t worry, I made sure to wash it thoroughly, just in case.”

“There must be some mistake, Doctor,” Garak said, “It was a gift. For you to keep.”

“I know,” Julian said, “But it’s not really my blanket, is it? You were telling the truth when you said you started working on a blanket for me when you learned I was ill, but you realized that you wouldn’t be able to finish in time. So, in order to make sure I didn’t think you’d been ignoring me, you took a blanket you’d made for yourself and gave that to me instead.”

Garak’s eyes widened for just a split second, then settled back into their usual amused twinkle. “Very clever of you, Doctor. How did you figure it out?”

“As you intimated back in my quarters, it’s all about the little details. I’ve never seen you make something from scratch, but the blanket was too large and detailed to have been made in four days. A quick check of the computer confirmed that Omtickian Yak fur isn’t an easy material to work with, which would have slowed your work down even more. But above all, it was the thickness that gave you away. The blanket was perfect while I was dealing with a fever, but once it subsided, I was sweltering underneath it, even after I brought the temperature in the room down to normal. It was far too hot for me…but it’s perfect for a Cardassian who finds the normal temperature on the station too cold.”

Garak took the blanket from Julian. “Magnificently deduced, Doctor, but lest you think I made some grand sacrifice for your sake, allow me to reassure you that I made this for myself because my old one was getting a little threadbare. I continued to use that one, and used you to break this one in for me.”

“Always glad to be of service,” Julian answered with a faint chuckle, “And thank you for thinking of me, even if it wasn’t what you originally had planned.”

“It was my pleasure, Doctor,” Garak said, slipping the blanket into a drawer in his desk, “In fact, I’m glad it turned out this way. Now that the surprise has been spoiled, I can design a blanket that would be more to your tastes. Pattern, material, length, whatever your preferences; just tell me what you’d like and I’ll have it done for you in a month or less.”

“That sounds fantastic, actually,” Julian said, “Let me think about it and we can figure things out over our usual lunch.”

Garak nodded. “I await the results with breathless anticipation. Oh, and by the way, Doctor…”

“I know,” Julian said, extracting a handkerchief from a hidden pocket in his uniform, “‘Bless you’.”

With that, he put the handkerchief to his face and closed his eyes. “Ih…IPSHH!!

Garak was smirking when Julian finally looked back at him. “I see you also figured out the subtle little warning signs.”

“Maybe,” Julian answered, smirking back, “I did have a lot of time on my hands.”

Garak made a shooing motion. “Go back to your job, Doctor. There will be plenty of time in the future for you and I to prod at each other’s defenses. Much as I hate to admit it, saving lives is more of a priority.”

Julian inclined his head and left the shop, smiling at a pair of Security officers who waved at him and called out “Good to have you back, Doctor!” It was three weeks to the day since the inadvertent reveal of his biggest secret, but somehow, it felt like everything had changed, and for the better. As frustrating as being ill had been, Julian had the odd yet reassuring feeling that it was the best thing that could have possibly happened to him. Squaring his shoulders, he entered the Infirmary, ready to make a difference.


Link to comment

Bashir might be my all time favorite Star Trek character and I loved this fic so much!

Link to comment

This was surprisingly delightful!  DS9 is also my favorite Trek series, followed closely by NexGen.  👍🏻

Link to comment

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Bashir was pretty much destined to be my DS9 crush by virtue of the accent alone, and since most of us have a tendency to torture the characters we love, something like this was inevitable, I think.

Link to comment
18 hours ago, Wig_Powder said:

Bashir was pretty much destined to be my DS9 crush by virtue of the accent alone

Haha, same! I have a type.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...