TITLE: I Never 
AUTHOR: The Plaid Adder
CODES: G/B, rated PG
SUMMARY: Garak and Bashir have guests to dinner and an after dinner game gets a bit out of hand...
DISCLAIMER: All rights reserved except for the ones Paramount owns already. Song lyrics are from "Least Complicated" written by Emily Saliers and recorded by the Indigo Girls.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story is part of a series with continuity, so there are a few things it will help you to know: 

1) Garak and Bashir have now been married for a couple weeks and have recently returned from their honeymoon, which involved far more excitement than they bargained for and about which, for various reasons, they do not intend to tell Sisko. Ophidia and Odo were there and know the story; the rest of the characters don't. This excitement involved a changeling who impersonated various other characters, to whom Bashir and Garak refer obliquely in Round Two.

2) This story takes place a couple of months before "The Horror, The Horror."

3) "I Never" was written before the episode "For the Cause," which means that it was written long before we were told that Tain was Garak's father. I assumed when writing this story that Tain was not Garak's father, and ask you to make the same assumption while you read it. (Otherwise the story becomes a lot more disturbing than I wanted it to be...)

AUTHOR'S WEBSITE: http://www.io.com/~villyard/plaidder/lair.html

* * * *

PROLOGUE

(The interior of the Garak-Bashir homestead. BASHIR and GARAK, in their civvies and aprons, are setting up for their first big dinner party. BASHIR puts out the water pitcher and wine glasses as GARAK sets down the plates of cold appetizers)

BASHIR: Oh, Quark said he's afraid to let Rom cover for him these days so he won't be able to make it.

GARAK: Don't toy with me, Julian. Is it really true? (BASHIR nods) Thank goodness. (GARAK picks up a bowl of nasty-looking insect larva and exits with it) A trade empire that spans two quadrants and they still insist on eating their native cuisine. I don't understand it.

BASHIR: Is everyone else coming? (GARAK returns with water glasses)

GARAK: They claim to be. It's amazing how the rules of etiquette bridge differences of species, culture and generation. They all said exactly the same thing: "I'll be delighted. Can I bring anything?"

BASHIR: And you said, "No, I'm the kind of host who has to have complete control over everything that goes on my table or I go mad." (GARAK laughs)

GARAK: Actually, I just told them all to bring wine.

BASHIR: You told them *all* to bring wine?

GARAK: Yes. Why?

BASHIR: Elim--(the door bleeps) Come in. (SISKO enters in mufti carrying a bottle of wine. GARAK registers momentary disapproval of his outfit but masks it immediately)

GARAK: Captain! Thank you for coming. (Puts bottle on the table)

BASHIR: Please, have a seat, we're almost ready.

SISKO: Can I help in the kitchen?

BASHIR: (noting GARAK's pained hesitation) That's all right; I think Elim's got everything under control, haven't you?

GARAK: Just about. But thank you, Captain. (Exits to the kitchen. BASHIR settles SISKO in the living area and they partake of the hors d'oeuvres.)

BASHIR: It's a tiny kitchen area, you know; really only room for one.

SISKO: I understand. So. Did you enjoy your honeymoon? (BASHIR snarfs his hors d'oeuvre. As SISKO thumps him on the back, GARAK emerges with a large covered casserole dish)

GARAK: Julian, are you all right? (BASHIR waves him off)

BASHIR: (spluttering) If victim can speak, breathe, or cough, stand by but do not interfere. (GARAK puts the disk down on the table; BASHIR recovers) The Captain was just asking about our honeymoon.

GARAK: Ah, yes, thank you so much for your gift to us. It was truly an unforgettable experience. (Door bleeps. DAX enters in pants and an oversized sweater carrying another bottle)

DAX: So this is the love nest! This is the first time I think I've been in here. I hope we're going to get a tour. (Door bleeps. KIRA enters, still in uniform, with bottle)

BASHIR: Major! I'm so glad you could make it.

KIRA: Likewise. (Thrusts bottle at BASHIR) Here. (BASHIR puts both bottles on the table; KIRA throws herself onto the couch) Oh Prophets what a day.

DAX: Trouble with the evacuation?

KIRA: Anything involving the Provisional Government is trouble. Would you believe Odo's still filing the shuttle logs with the central office? Then we've got to get them all back up here after it passes. (To SISKO) This better be one hell of a spatial disturbance.

SISKO: It was not my idea, Major. The provisional government--

KIRA: I don't know what moron rammed those Space Station Safety Regulations through the council, but I'd like a few minutes alone with him in a dark alley. (Door bleeps)

BASHIR: Your turn. (GARAK opens it for OPHIDIA, who presents another bottle)

GARAK: Ophidia! Good to see you again.

OPHIDIA: It was nice of you to invite me. (Hands the bottle to BASHIR) I hope it's all right. I know nothing about wine. I got it as a gift at the songfest.

BASHIR: You must have turned in quite a performance. (to KIRA) Dakkan Falerni, '42.

KIRA: Are you serious? (Inspects the label) Do you know what this is worth on Bajor? (Door bleeps; BASHIR goes to answer it) We financed three resistance campaigns with one bottle of this stuff. (O'BRIEN enters with a bottle of wine and a 12-pack of Guinness)

O'BRIEN: I brought some wine for dinner and the Guinness in case we decide to do some *real* drinking. (Goes to put them on the table; sees the collection there already) Ooh, Dakkan Falerni! Who's the connoisseur?

KIRA: Who gave that to you, anyway?

OPHIDIA: Kai Wynn came backstage with it after my--

KIRA: *Kai Wynn* gave you a bottle of Dakkan Falerni?

OPHIDIA: Is that bad?

DAX: Depends how you feel about older women.

OPHIDIA: I--no way! You don't think--(while the others tease OPHIDIA, GARAK slips out into the kitchen. BASHIR follows him, followed by the camera. He sneaks up behind GARAK as he bends over the tray of hasparat and grabs him around the waist. GARAK turns to face him and they kiss)

GARAK: I thought I told you to stay out of here.

BASHIR: I can't help it. You're irresistible when you're handling food. (GARAK cracks a smile)

GARAK: Control yourself, Doctor. I don't have time to make up *another* batch of hasparat.

BASHIR: (grazing from the dishes and talking with his mouth full) If you ask me, we could have served the first batch anyway. They were only a little bit squished.

GARAK: (Smiles) All right, Doctor, since you're here, let's review. We made it to Acacius 7 after only a minor storm-related delay, we pitched camp on Nirna Island, where we were lucky enough to encounter a migratory flock of lavender-crested burblers--

BASHIR: We made love like crazed weasels in the branches of tall trees--

GARAK: No, no, no, Doctor. In lying the ordinary is of the essence. The more outrageous the details the less convincing the story becomes. (BASHIR nods) So. *Under* the branches, not in them. (BASHIR laughs) You're really not very good at this, are you?

BASHIR: I think I'll let you tell the honeymoon stories.

GARAK: That would probably be for the best. (Smacks BASHIR's hand as he reaches into one of the dishes) Now behave yourself.

BASHIR: If you're sure that's what you want. (Strokes GARAK's head) It wasn't a bad honeymoon, in the end.

GARAK: It could have been worse. (They look at each other. BASHIR kisses GARAK's hand. As their tender encounter progresses, the camera returns to the living room)

KIRA: I thought that woman's heart was liquid nitrogen, but you've obviously warmed it.

OPHIDIA: Now look. I'm going to have to eat in a minute, and my stomach--(Door bleeps) I'll get it. (Escapes to let in ODO, who enters with a bottle of tulaberry wine)

ODO: Quark sends his regrets. (He puts it with the others on the table and does a double take when he sees OPHIDIA's bottle) *Dakkan Falerni?* (OPHIDIA howls; the other officers burst out laughing.) Once again I relinquish all hope of understanding you solids.

KIRA: Did everyone get off all right?

ODO: They're off the station and on Bajor; that's all I can swear to. (Sits in the living room) Do you think there's any real danger?

O'BRIEN: There will probably be some power loss, but otherwise it shouldn't be too bad.

DAX: So why did we have to evacuate the station?

ODO: Because the SSSR states in chapter eleven--

KIRA: Paragraph three--

ODO: Article seven--

KIRA: Subheading B--

ODO: "In the event of any potentially threatening atmospheric, spatial, or temporal distortion, disruption, or anomaly, all Bajoran civilians and nonessential military personnel shall be removed from the station to the planet's surface."

DAX: Speaking of atmospheric disturbances, is something burning?

SISKO: (calling into the kitchen) You sure you couldn't use some help in there?

BASHIR: (after a muffled but urgent exchange with GARAK) No thank you, Captain, we've got things pretty well in hand. (SISKO turns back to OPHIDIA)

SISKO: I thought you were planning to go back to Caledonia?

OPHIDIA: Yes, I was, but we had a little--(ODO coughs) My flight from the Phrenellian system got cancelled. There's another one in two weeks I hope to be on. (there is a clatter from the kitchen) How ya doin' in there, guys?

BASHIR: (in somewhat strained tones) We're almost finished.

GARAK: Don't talk with your mouth full, it'll go down the wrong way. (DAX, meanwhile, has approached the casserole dish)

DAX: Wait. Is that...(lifts the cover) Oh, be still my heart. Boeuf en daube.

SISKO: Uh oh. Hold her back!

DAX: All right, Julian, if you two don't get out here *right now* I'm going to start eating this out of the serving dish.

SISKO: She means it, too. (GARAK and BASHIR enter, BASHIR carrying a platter with various side dishes on it and GARAK with the tray of hasparat. There are good-sized hasparat crumbs in BASHIR's hair and various blobs of foodstuff clinging to their aprons.)

BASHIR: Sorry, things got a little sticky there at the last minute.

GARAK: Yes, the final moments are always the hardest. Everything comes to a boil at once; it's very distracting. (They put down the trays, everyone sits, and they pass the plates. DAX plants herself next to the casserole dish and takes over the job of serving it. Unable to restrain herself, she digs in before everyone else and is loud in her appreciation)

DAX: Oh my God. Garak, if you ever want someone to have your baby, you just bring me an extra-huge helping of this and my womb is yours.

GARAK: So you like it. (KIRA tastes hers)

KIRA: It's...well, it's very nice, Garak, but don't ask me to do any reproducing for you.

GARAK: I wouldn't dream of imposing. (KIRA has moved on to the hasparat. Her eyes water, her face flushes, and she gropes frantically for her water glass, which she drains in one gulp. The other diners watch in concerned silence. Finally she shakes her head back, gasps, and thumps the water glass down on the table with a sigh of satisfaction.)

KIRA: Now *that* is hasparat. (To GARAK) Where did you get fresh brini peppers at this time of year?

GARAK: I have my methods.

KIRA: This day is getting better by the minute. Bring that tray back down here. (Only too glad to be rid of such an obviously lethal entree, SISKO and O'BRIEN hand it to her.)

SISKO: Noodle cake?

O'BRIEN: Don't mind if I do. (As he takes one off the plate, the lights go out and the screen goes dark.)

SISKO: I'll assume there was no causal connection.

O'BRIEN: O'Brien to engineering.

JENAK: Jenak here. Sir, we've experienced a massive power drain and severe damage to the main grid.

O'BRIEN: I'm on my way. (We hear him blundering toward the door. GARAK lights the candles on the table; O'BRIEN is now visible and able to find his way to the door, but can't open it) No I'm not. Jenak--

JENAK: We had to reroute what was left to essential systems, sir. Doors, turbolifts, replicators and lighting are out until we get the grid back up and running.

O'BRIEN: How bad is it? (Unintelligible tech talk from the ensign on the other end) Well, that'll be a good six hours, short-handed as you are.

JENAK: That's what we thought. We can send someone down to break you out--

O'BRIEN: Don't bother; we'll be all right. Put all personnel on to repairing the grid and keep me informed. O'Brien out. (GARAK is lighting more candles. DAX is continuing to put away the boeuf en daube and KIRA is guzzling more water)

O'BRIEN: Well, as long as we're going to be here a while, let's open that bottle of Falerni.

[credits]

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