I see so many fics about Garak and Bashir that are sweet or sexy, and they’re tons of fun, but what I don’t see enough of is the most compelling aspect of their relationship: the fact that Garak is a deeply damaged individual. He is much older than Julian, a different species, and from a totally different background. Where Bashir’s parents risked everything to enhance him and give him a fighting chance in the world, Garak’s father denied their relationship and turned Garak into an efficient wreck. He’s a liar, a murderer, a spy and a torturer, and even his good guy progression can’t change some of that. His charm and good-naturedness is a mask, and if he ever only showed Julian his beaming sarcasm and witty banter in the bedroom (as most fanfics would have us believe), then their relationship was never real. Even the TV episodes show more than that! In The Wire
alone, we see Garak scream at and attack Bashir, lie to him repeatedly, and communicate his need for help through strategically placed clues. It’s the closest he can come to revealing himself, because that IS him. It’s all true, “especially the lies,” because that is what Garak consists of. His groanings about sartorial choices and human rituals are characteristic, but they don’t compose his character. I want to see more of the REAL Garak; and, if he can’t give that, more of Bashir’s real frustration at not receiving it.
Oh man, while we’re at it are we really going to keep pretending that Julian is not ALSO damaged as fuck? I’m sorry, but “[his] parents risked everything to enhance him and give him a fighting chance in the world”? No. No. Julian’s parents committed acts of heinous and horrific abuse against him, to the point where they were willing to completely unmake him in hopes of making him a child that deserved their love and affection.
Julian’s parents didn’t give him genetic enhancements because he
wanted them, because he
needed them; he wasn’t born with a heart defect, he wasn’t in pain, he wasn’t suffering. Julian did not need genetic enhancements.
Not to survive. Not even to be happy
. He just needed them to be the child that his parents wanted.
Julian is a product of abuse in exactly
the way Garak is. It manifests in his social awkwardness and his unrelenting desire for approval and his need – not his desire, his need
– to always be the very best at everything he does, because if he isn’t
, then by his parent’s standards he doesn’t even deserve to exist
. Like Garak, Julian lives a life of personas: he is so terrified to live as his authentic self that he almost doesn’t have one.
He is whoever you want him to be; a parody of social and intellectual success.
Julian and Garak are not opposites. They are identical
. Julian is not some precious, innocent child who’s never suffered, who wouldn’t understand the damage abuse does, who wouldn’t understand Garak’s transient sense of self, who wouldn’t understand Garak’s duplicity and his fear. That’s the face
Julian puts on. It’s as real as his super spy identity in “Our Man Bashir”. Julian’s authentic self shows itself when there is no one left to impress, when death is nigh, when only Garak is there to witness it, and it is bitter, and damaged, and deadly. Just like Garak’s is.
Julian’s real self is as damaged and unsure as Garak’s is, and I need a recognition of his
complexity as much as I need recognition of Garak’s.
I’d also like to point out that Julian didn’t ever need a “fighting chance in the world”.Julian Sabatoi Bashir was born in the Federation of Planets, a society free of any monetary system where the needs of every citizen is met.
It was never about Julian. It was about what his parents had envisioned their child would be.
Julian Bashir is an example of something very real that happens to disabled children everyday.
He was taken apart and put back together to fit an arbitrary standard. He had something inherent to himself removed. He was “cured” of what could really only be called a developmental disorder.
The changes to this man were so extreme Julian changed his name
. He did not feel he was who he was born as. And I repeat: EARTH IS A UTOPIA HE NEVER NEEDED A FIGHTING CHANCE
It wasn’t about Julian. I wasn’t even about Jules.
It was about his parents’ ideal.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret from personal experience. That shit leaves deep deep scars.
Deep space scars.