Julian waited until it was 2400, then set his feet to make a visit.
If he was going to set fire to his own life to head off a forest fire, he might as well warn the one person who would be hurt most while not expecting it. Walking there, pressing the door chime, Garak opening the door, and him being ushered inside were a haze. Julian found himself standing by Garak's desk, staring out the window. Garak pressed a cup of tea to his hand.
"I don't expect I will be a great comfort to you, doctor, but I will try my best."
"And what makes you say that?" Julian took a sip. Red leaf. But with sweetener.
"One imagines thieves are poor counselors of the robbed."
Julian could have laughed. Perhaps, he could have laughed. "I'm not here about that."
"You can't ignore it." Garak warned. "You aren't trained to."
"Never mind that." Julian put the tea down on the sill and turned to face his friend. "Garak, I fully expect to be arrested soon. It is not precisely because of something I have done, but I am guilty." Julian was far too wrung out to say it again, after his conversation with Miles. He suspected, in any case, that Garak might know already.
Garak's eyes flickered, the corners of his mouth falling. "Doctor-"
"There's nothing you can do, Garak. I'm resigning my commission first thing in the morning- that way, I'll have some dignity. Perhaps the punishment won't be as harsh." He took his dear friend's hand in his, damning Cardassian properity for a moment. "I just wanted to tell you. I couldn't just… leave you."
Emotions had flashed through Garak's face throughout the conversation, faster than he could control. Now, it sat blank, as though he were overwhelmed. He leaned back and broke Julian's grip on his hand. "What would you have me say? That I won't let this be the last time I see you? I can do little better than nothing if they take you- if I stop it, surely I would burn any security I have built, and I am not fool enough to think I could protect us both. Not during a war. Not with Dukat as powerful as he is."
"I know." Julian felt tears begin to fall. "But I couldn't have you wake up one day and find me gone."
"You wonderful, foolish boy." Garak muttered. "If you tell me now, perhaps I could stop it."
"No, I don't think you could. Or at least, the price we'd have to pay would be too high." Julian set a gentle hand on Garak's upper back. "May I confess something? That's important, for Cardassians- confession. Now that I know the secret is out, a part of me isn't frightened. It's relieved. My life is over, I'll be at the very least stripped of my medical license-"
Garak's body trembled, and he could feel the unspoken what, what could you have been implicated in, but he was silent.
"- I have no prospects, but I am about to be free of the horrible burden of a secret."
Garak was quiet for a moment. "I felt that way just before I was exiled."
"Perhaps I need to learn tailoring."
"Perhaps you do." Garak turned, steeling himself. "So, tomorrow you might be gone?"
"Maybe. I'll confess I think it's more likely to take a few days." Julian's hand had not left Garak, merely shifted in position. "Do you want me to-?"
"I don't know. Take what you need."
"I won't take from you, Garak." Julian pulled him closer, leaving a few centimeters of space between their chests. "Ask me. Please. It's polite to grant last requests."
"For the executioner, I believe. It is not a Cardassian custom." Garak's hand settled on his shoulder. His eyes were fire bright and flicked about, unable or unwilling to settle on any part of Julian's face. "I- Doctor, I don't know if I can."
"Can you call me Julian? Just Julian?"
Garak's eyes stilled. "Julian." He stepped forward, letting them touch chest to chest. "I thought, when I lost you, it would be because I went to far out of bounds."
"You think I'd leave you?" After everything you've already done, he doesn't say.
"I think I'm a prisoner granted certain privileges." Garak's breath was cool and smelled of red leaf. "Do it."
Of course he couldn't ask, but he could command.
Julian tilts his head and presses their lips together. Immediately, Garak's touch on his shoulder became a desperate grip. His lips part, without any pressure from Julian, and it was the sweetest wine, sweeter and more horrible for the fact that next course featured arsenic as an ingredient.
Garak broke the kiss first. He started a sentence, once, twice, and closed his mouth, settling his brow against Julian's, his mouth drawn. "I hate you." he whispered. All I have to look forward to is lunch with you.
"I know, and I'm sorry. But we have tonight." It isn't enough. It never was enough, at the cost required. Now, though, there was no more price to pay, other than knowing exactly what they'd be longing for.
"Tonight." Garak repeated.
It was no one's business but theirs that Julian left Garak's quarters the next morning to go to Captain Sisko's office.