Title: New to Thee, Prologue
Author: The Plaid Adder
Rating/Pairing(s): PG, G/B
Disclaimer: All rights reserved except for the ones Paramount owns already.  Based on "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare, who was born before copyright law and therefore cannot sue me, even from beyond the grave. Heh heh.
Story Notes/Comments: Like all of my stories, this was written before the introduction of Ziyal, and does not reflect developments in the canon universe after that point. Ophidia is a character I made up. Ostensibly, she's a singer from Caledonia who's an old friend of Dax's. This story takes place one week after the end of "Sigh No More."
Website: http://www.io.com/~villyard/plaidder/lair.html

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PROLOGUE

(Exterior shot of station with voiceover:)

SISKO: Captain's log, stardate 48764.2: The failure of the offensive against the Dominion has resulted in some changes in the Cardassian power structure. The Obsidian Order has become increasingly subordinate to the military and there is talk of plans to merge the two organizations. Since so many senior Obsidian Order operatives have been killed, exiled, executed or imprisoned as a result of the Cardassian-Romulan attack, relatively minor officers have suddenly taken on positions of great responsibility. In light of these new developments, the Federation is reevaluating its relationship with Cardassia. As part of that effort, I have invited Cardassia's new Imperial Ambassador to pay a diplomatic visit to DS9.

(During the last portion of that voiceover we have seen the interior of one of those meeting rooms with a table around which SISKO, KIRA, GUL DUKAT, STEBAN (another Cardassian official) and some random diplomatic extras are seated. DUKAT and SISKO rise; everyone else gets up. DUKAT shakes hands with SISKO, STEBAN with a disgruntled KIRA, and the Cardassians leave. The camera follows DUKAT down corridors, turbolifts, etc. until he reaches the door to a set of crew quarters and rings the bell.)

(We now see an interior shot of Garak and Bashir's new quarters, where GARAK is sitting on the living room floor surrounded by wrapped presents, some opened and others intact, and big crumply piles of torn wrapping paper.)

GARAK: Come in. (DUKAT enters. GARAK rises) Ambassador Dukat! What an honor to have you beneath my humble roof. Truly I grow faint with amazement and awe.

DUKAT: They told me you had gotten married, but I had to see it for myself.

GARAK: I'm afraid so. I am sorry. I waited for you as long as I could.

DUKAT: Your marital status is of no interest to me, Garak. I'm just concerned that you might reproduce. (Starts walking around and sizing up the living room) You do very well on a tailor's salary.

GARAK: Ah, you see, good taste is the secret. As long as you have that, you can make a little go a very long way. Without it...(looks DUKAT up and down) I can't believe that in 20 years they haven't changed the design of those diplomatic uniforms. It's *so* unflattering, especially for someone with your figure.

DUKAT: I doubt you'll ever need to worry about how you'll look in uniform. Especially since we've finally purged most of Tain's other sycophants from the Order. Best thing that came out of that disaster in the Gamma Quadrant.

GARAK: Speaking of profiting from others' misfortunes, I forgot to congratulate you on your promotion. (DUKAT nods frostily) I understand you're now a very busy man. Don't you have to be somewhere?

DUKAT: I was just leaving. (Takes one last look around) I just wanted to see what exile looks like.

GARAK: Preparing for your next career move, I see. (Door opens and BASHIR enters, carrying a bouquet of flowers.)

BASHIR: Garak, I'm--(spots DUKAT) Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I didn't realize we had company coming. (DUKAT's jaw drops and we realize that he has been assuming, all this time, that Garak was married to a female.)

GARAK: Ambassador Dukat, I'd like you to meet my husband, Julian Garak-Bashir.

BASHIR: Yes, we've met, actually. How do you do. (Extends his free hand. DUKAT turns back to GARAK)

DUKAT: This isn't funny, Garak.

GARAK: It's not meant to be. (DUKAT looks back and forth between them, then explodes)

DUKAT: I knew there was something rotten about you, even before the trial I knew you were corrupt at the core. If I'd know it was heldek I would have killed you myself. Oh, this explains a great deal.

GARAK: You only think it does.

DUKAT: You Bajoran spuckcat. I have a head cold or I would have smelled the infection in the air when I came in here. (Spits at GARAK and utters a Cardassian curse. This is the last straw for BASHIR)

BASHIR: All right, Dukat, that's enough. Get out of here before--

DUKAT: With pleasure. (Backs up to the door, snarls a final imprecation and exits.)

GARAK: (musing on DUKAT's departure) I hope you like me, Doctor, because you're stuck with me.

BASHIR: Well, I'm also stuck on you, so that's all right.

GARAK: Stuck on me?

BASHIR: It's an idiom.

GARAK: It's a rather graphic one.

BASHIR: It's not meant to be. It originally meant...(Realizes he doesn't know that the original sense of the phrase was) All right, let's try this again. (Presents the flowers) Happy anniversary.

GARAK: For me? Oh Doctor! Thank you! (takes the flowers) They're lovely. Let me get a vase for them. (Looks around on the shelves)

BASHIR: They're Bajoran three-day flame lilies.

GARAK: (Turning around with the vase) I thought you said they were anniversaries.

BASHIR: What? Oh--no, no. The anniversary is the occasion. You know.

GARAK: No, I don't.

BASHIR: Of course not. I don't suppose Cardassians go in much for sentiment.

GARAK: The purpose of Cardassian marriage is to produce offspring for the state.

BASHIR: Ah. Well, in many human cultures, married partners mark the occasion of their coming together by giving each other presents on the date of their wedding. It's called an anniversary.

GARAK: Ah. And this would be...

BASHIR: This is our one-week anniversary.

GARAK: I see. Well. Thank you very much. I must try to remember next time.

BASHIR: (a little disappointed, but trying to be a good sport) It's all right. (Kisses him on the cheek) I'm sure there are Cardassian customs I'll forget to observe. I'm going to go change. (Looks around) What's all this?

GARAK: Wedding presents. (BASHIR exits to the bedroom) This is apparently another Terran custom I need to be educated regarding. I had no idea that people gave you prizes just for getting mated. (Pause. From the bedroom)

BASHIR: Garak? (GARAK smiles to himself but doesn't look up)

GARAK: Yes?

BASHIR: Would you know anything about this? (BASHIR appears in the doorway holding an enormous flower arrangement including a dozen long-stemmed red roses, baby's breath, and a large card clearly reading "Happy Anniversary Julian." GARAK turns and laughs)

GARAK: Honestly, Doctor. After forcing me to read those Terran novels how could you possibly believe I wouldn't know these things? (BASHIR enters the room, puts the flowers down on the table, crosses to GARAK, seizes him by the lapels, and kisses him for real.)

BASHIR: You are the most accomplished liar I have ever met.

GARAK: Thank you, Doctor.

BASHIR: Also the most thoughtful and the most beautiful one. (GARAK laughs) What?

GARAK: Beautiful?

BASHIR: Yes.

GARAK: Me. You really think I'm beautiful.

BASHIR: Yes.

GARAK: (sincerely puzzled) I don't understand that. (BASHIR runs his hands up GARAK's back to cradle the back of his head. GARAK's eyes close and his breath catches)

BASHIR: Let me explain it to you. (They kiss. Blackout.)

[Opening credits]

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