Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Welcome Home

By Gabrielle Lawson

Audio copy: You can listen to this story on my podcast: There Are Three of Me. It is read in Ep62 S4E9. You can find There Are Three of Me on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and .

Note: This is just a little coda inspired by a rewatch of 5th season's By Inferno's Light. I never felt Bashir got a proper welcome home, thanks to O'Brien's rather insulting "He was easier to get along with."

Paramount and Viacom own all things Trek, including DS9, the main characters thereof, etc. I only borrow their characters and settings. The stories are mine. Do not copy without including this disclaimer and my name. Do not post without permission.

Welcome Home

Julian Bashir tried to lose himself in his work. He'd been afraid this last month of what that changeling would have done to the people on the station in his place as Chief Medical Officer. Now he knew what he'd done. Brain surgery on the captain, for starters. He had to dig through every record, and he'd want to double-check every patient, of course, to see that they weren't harmed by the changeling.

He was rather glad that O'Brien had left. It hurt when he'd said he'd found the changeling easier to get along with. Didn't he realize that Bashir had missed his friendship for the last month? Of course, O'Brien didn't even know he was missing. It was just another day of banter to him. It wasn't to Bashir.

It was his first day of freedom after a month of captivity, separated from all his friends, Starfleet, the Federation, the very goings-on in the Alpha Quadrant and the rest of the universe outside of Dominion Internment Camp 371.

"When was the last time you had a decent meal?"

Bashir looked up to find Jadzia leaning over his desk. She was just as beautiful as he remembered. In fact, she hadn't changed at all. And while that was logically to be expected, it still felt odd. "How's Worf?" he asked.

"Resting," she replied and gave him a sly smile, "and I asked you first."

"I spent five days without a meal at all this last week," he said finally. "And what they called rations the rest of the time was hardly worth calling food."

Jadzia's smile widened. "Then I'm taking you to dinner."

Julian liked that idea but he turned back to his files and the fear returned. "The O'Briens' baby, the captain's brain... What else did he do, Jadzia?"

Her hand on his shoulder turned him around. "He sabotaged our attempt to close the wormhole. He killed three people to take a runabout, and he tried to blow up the Bajoran sun." She took a breath. "But as far as we know, he never hurt a patient. And if I know you, you'll have every one of them in here in the next week. Let it go for tonight and just be home, Julian."

Home. He'd barely set foot in his quarters long enough to shower and change into this new style uniform that was actually too big. Why a changeling would even bother with having a real uniform in his closet baffled him.

She took his hand, which jolted him from those thoughts. "Odo checked out your quarters. There's nothing else there that shouldn't be. Let's go." She pulled him out of his chair.

He let her. But instead of backing up, she moved closer and pulled him into a hug. "I've missed you," she said.

He laughed, briefly, sadly. Of course that was what he'd wanted but he knew it was impossible. "How? You didn't know I was gone until I stood on this station."

She still held him. "From the moment I saw you standing there, and retroactively back to the old uniforms. I knew in that instant you'd been gone at least that long." Now she let go, pushing him back from her but not letting go of his arms. "And Miles is sorry. He meant to say that, too."

Bashir smiled. "How is it possible you know me so well, and still didn't realize he wasn't me?"

She moved beside him and took his arm, and physically walked him out of the Infirmary. "Oh, it's all clear in hindsight. For one thing, he didn't have your sense of humor. Now, what is the one thing you've been dying to eat for the last month? I'll tell you everything at dinner."

He looked at her, trying to appear serious. "I only get one thing?" She laughed and he laughed, and it was the first time he felt entirely free since he'd woken up in that camp. He was home.


© 2010 Gabrielle Lawson