taricalmcacil: (Smile)
taricalmcacil ([personal profile] taricalmcacil) wrote2010-03-28 02:37 am

Doctor's Holiday

I started this about a good month ago as a get well fic for [livejournal.com profile] jonnycarnahan back when she hurt her back. And now, it's finally complete! Enjoy dear!

Title: Doctor's Holiday
Author: [livejournal.com profile] taricalmcacil
Rating: FRC (One Curse Word)
Genre: Comfort
Words: 4,949
Summary: A plot by Colonel Kira gets Julian off the station for a much needed vacation to see the O'Briens. Takes place approximately 1 1/2 years after WYLB.
Authors Note: I have read any post series novels, all I know is that Julian and Ezri eventually broke up., and as such, that is the only post series plot device used here.

I'm surprised when Miles demands that I come visit for Christmas. I know it's been a long time since we've seen each other, a year and a half if I'm not mistaken (and I know I'm not), but it seems rather sudden. Especially from him. I hum and harr about it for a few minutes before Keiko appears at Miles shoulder and tells me to stop whinging, take some leave, and get my ass on a transport. I think it's the language that she uses that makes me agree, to shocked to really argue. It's several hours later that I realize that was her intention. She managed to surprise me enough that I temporarily forgot I've never celebrated Christmas in my life, being of Arabian descent. I'm not sure how to tell Miles this when I arrive on Earth, he never did understand why I spent the seven years he was on DS9 perfectly happy to spend Christmas alone.

I go to see Kira first thing the next morning. she barely looks over the leave request before approving it. she gives me a rather smug smile, and I can't help but wonder if she was somehow involved with the O'Briens' demand that I come visit.

"It's about damn time you took a vacation." She states as she sets the PADD aside.

I can't deny it, it has been a while. I'm certain the closest I've come to one in the last four years is my time in Internment Camp 371, and that hardly qualifies. I suppose it'll be nice to relax for a couple of weeks. And assuming I associate with no one but the O'Briens, it's entirely possible I'll be able to. That thought is almost enough to ease my concern about the state my patient records will be in when I get back. But I've already resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to completely reorganize them upon returning to the station. Again.

Despite my misgivings about how the state of my infirmary will deteriorate, three days later I'm on a passenger liner headed for earth. The trip is uneventful, boring even. I spend the second day playing poker with several other passengers. I manage to relieve them of great deal of Latinum before they kick me out of their game, suspecting I'm somehow cheating. I tell the ringleader behind this that if he doesn't want to lose he should cover the vein on his forehead. I can see his pulse increase every time he bluffs. I'm quite certain the only reason he didn't hit me was the knowledge that I could knock him unconscious without breaking a sweat.

As a result, I spend the next three days wandering the corridors aimlessly and tossing a tennis ball against the walls of my quarters. By the time the captain of the liner announces we're entering the Sol system, I've been lying on my bed for at least 12 hours, staring unmoving at the ceiling. The announcement pulls me from my stupor. I suffer a brief moment of panic when I realize it's been two days since I showered and four since I've shaved, but my Starfleet training kicks in and I'm clean and smooth skinned by the time it is announced we have entered Earth orbit.

When I materialize at the transport station for County Tipperary, it's all I can do to stop myself falling over in shock. Keiko, Molly, and Kirayoshi are all waiting as expected since Miles is lecturing his final class before term break at the academy. It's the fourth member of their group that surprises me. Standing to the right of Keiko is my mother.

The two children run forward almost instantly, cries of "Uncle Julian!" clearly audible. I drop my bag and scoop Yoshi into one arm while I lean down to hug Molly with the other. The now nine year old girl hugs me back around the chest as I balance on one knee. Yoshi, seated on my other knee attempts to strangle me, throwing his arms around my neck. Molly catches the odd noise I make and pulls back to argue with her brother.

"Yoshi, you're choking Uncle Julian."

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

I'm grateful when Keiko lifts him from my knee, saving me from further strangulation. I climb back to my feet and Molly hands me my bag, retrieved from where I dropped it behind me.

"Thank you miss Molly."

She smiles at me and returns to her mother as I walk to mine. Last time I saw her, I couldn't shake the feeling of dread that took over as the shock wore away. This time, I feel a steady warmth in my chest as she pulls me into a hug. I admit, I hadn't planned on seeing my parents this trip, hadn't particularly wanted to. But now that my mother is here, I'm glad she is. My anger at them for unintentionally revealing my enhancements has all but vanished. Even my anger at them for having the enhancements done in the first place has faded quite drastically. In retrospect, I almost feel as though they did me a favour...during the war I was able to protect people by using my abilities in ways I couldn't when I was always hiding them.

"Hello Julian." she says, finally pulling away.

"Hello mother."

Keiko allows us a moment to stand there smiling stupidly at each other before stepping between us.

"Come on you two." She carries Yoshi past, heading for the air car, I suspect. Mother and I move to follow, but Molly grabs my hand holding me back.

"Uncle Julian!." She stamps her foot, motioning at Yoshi in their mothers arms. I lean over to look her in the eye.
"My dear, don't you think you're getting a bit old for that?"

"No!"

I chuckle at her immediate response. "Alright. Just this once."

She nods excitedly and nimbly hops into my arms. I can't resist her, I've missed being their uncle Julian more than I thought.

Over the next few hours I learn that I was right about Kira being involved in getting me away from Deep Space Nine. As it turns out, she had contacted my parents nearly a year ago for help getting me to take a break. I feel a bit guilty now for declining their invitations to come visit. After six months of me claiming too much work to come for a stay, my mother had contacted Miles and Keiko to see if they could think of a way to persuade me to come. Keiko explained that she and Miles had deduced I would come only if he demanded it, and likely only if I was given little time to consider it. Keiko had invited my parents to stay in Ireland for the holiday, whether we celebrate or not. After their acceptance, Miles had made the call to me. I want to be angry with the lot of them, but it is just too nice to be home for me to be so. Bajor is nice, but there’s something about Earth I just can’t explain.

When we arrive at the O’Briens’, I first change into a warm sweater at Keiko’s suggestion. She explains to me that Ireland has been having a cooler winter than is considered normal, apparently the British Isles have received half a meter of snow since mid-November. All the ponds and lakes in the area have been frozen solid for a good month. My mother tells me that it will be several hours before Miles and my father arrive, and suggests I take Molly and Yoshi out to play while she and Keiko prepare to cook dinner. I take the hint and order the kids to suit up, so to speak, as I track down a jacket and pair of boots for myself.

I don’t realize that we’ve lost track of the time until I hear Miles calling our names, yelling for us to come in from the cold. Molly and Yoshi waste no time in pouncing upon my mistake of popping my head outside my snow fort to respond, and I notice too late to duck completely out the way of the snowballs that come flying. I make a mental note to wear a hat next time as one of the balls collides with my ear. I call out my surrender to the kids, and fortunately they accept it instead of pelting me with more snow as I would have done to my father when I was their age. We reunite in the center of our battlefield and I take a hand from each, and together we walk back to the house, well worn from our efforts.

Miles and father are waiting for us just inside the door with heavy blankets ready. Miles helps the kids out of their snow clothes while father takes my jacket and ushers me off to change into some dry pants. I clearly should have planned for a contingency in which snowman building progressed into a snowball fight.

When I re-emerge from my room (being less than graciously lent by Yoshi, I’m told), everyone else is heading for the dinner table. The kids are both wearing their blankets like cloaks, and my father deposits one similarly around my shoulders after giving me a hug. Keiko tells us all to have a seat as she sets the last dish on the table, as my mother thanks me for keeping Molly and Yoshi occupied all afternoon.

“It wasn’t a problem. I had…fun.”

Miles chuckled on his left. “And when was the last time you had any of that?”

“Oh…one year, three months, two weeks, six –

“Alright, alright! I get the picture.”

Mother and father each fell silent at my answer, I can see the concern in their eyes. I smile, trying to ease their worries. I’ve kept in better contact with them in the last four years than I had since I left for the academy, but I’m not sure they’ve had any introduction to the humour Miles and I constantly employ against each other.

“I’m joking, mother, father. Just last week Vic and I were singing –

“Oh, so you’re torturing people for fun, now.”

I chuckle. “Yes, Miles. That is exactly what I’m doing.”

We avoid looking each other in the eye, both aware that if we do, Keiko’s dinner will be completely disrupted by our laugh riot. Not that she isn’t asking for it, being partially responsible for dragging me here in the first place. She can be quite the intimidating mastermind when she wants to be, I’ll have to remember to ask for her help plotting revenge against Kira.

Dinner is relatively uneventful, and afterwards, my parents make an early night of it. I offer to help Miles bathe Yoshi (and walk away completely soaked for the second time in three hours for my trouble), and then bribe Molly with a game of Monopoly if she takes her shower without an argument. Keiko doesn’t seem thrilled about this, but I’d suspect she’d care more if the children had school tomorrow. It’s nearly midnight before our game ends, Miles having long since sent Yoshi to bed. He’s already turned in when I send Molly to her room, and Keiko joins me to help pack the game away.

“Thank you for keeping the kids busy today.”

I shake my head.

“It wasn’t a problem.” I’m not lying either. I’m not sure why I enjoy keeping the children occupied so much, maybe it’s because so much of my childhood is missing, from before my enhancements and after I knew about them.

“Well, you didn’t have to do it.” Keiko states as she replaces the game in a closet.

“I know. But I wanted to.”

She just shakes her head at me and walks in the direction of she and Miles’ room, turning off the light as she goes.

“You’re hopeless, Julian. Good night!”

I just chuckle in response and head for my own bed. I’m asleep by the time my head touches the pillow.

I’m vaguely aware of sunlight on my face, turning the backs of my eyelids red, but I’m too cozy to shift around until I’m in darkness again. I’m so relaxed, so comfortable, just laying here…here. In Ireland, on Earth. I’d almost forgotten. I guess I must have been getting a bit tense on the station... if I had felt light on my face when waking there, my first instinct would have been to defend myself. Not that I’ll ever admit to Kira that I needed this vacation.

I lay there for a while, not really trying to count the minutes. I find myself content to stay there all day. Somewhere in the distance, I hear the bedroom door creak open, but I’m not really aware of it. Or at least, I’m not aware of it until the air is forced out of me by Yoshi jumping on my stomach.

My groan is accompanied by Miles’ reprimand of his son. I ignore his words and instead focus on rolling myself out of bed…It seems I attempted to make a cocoon in the night and I’ve gotten a bit tangled. I catch a glimpse of Yoshi as he leaves the room and instead focus on the spot where Miles is standing, a silly grin on his face. I imagine it’s there because I can’t get my arm free of the bed sheets. I chuck my pillow at him.

The chuckle I get in response is infuriating.

“Oh, shut up.”

“Fine! I won’t help you.” He turns to go.

“Oh for…dammit.” I sigh. “Oh Miles!”

He pauses in the door frame.

“I seem to be stuck. Would you mind terribly helping me out?” I swear, if anyone but Miles saw my fake smile, they’d have no intention of freeing me from the bed from fear for their lives. With a benevolent look on his face, Miles crosses the room and untwists me.

“Better?”

“Oh, much.”

He gives a short snort of laughter. “Get dressed, yeh rip.”

I narrow my eyes at him, but get up to do as he said. When I head out into the dining room, I find that the rest of the household is already up and about. Oddly enough I find that it’s my father who is directing the cooking of breakfast, Miles slaving away at the stove under his orders, checking the bacon, while he himself mixes the ingredients for omelets. I hesitate there confused a moment too long, and am pressed into service as well. I’m given a bowl filled with batter, positioned in front of a skillet, and given strict orders not to let the pancakes burn.

Miles gives me a sympathetic look. “Stood there too long?”

“Yeah. Just a bit.”

Between the three of us, breakfast is ready relatively quickly, and the women are amused and delighted to be served breakfast. They also seem pleasantly surprised by the fact that everything is edible. Miles and I aren’t sure whether we should join them in that surprise or be offended. Father on the other hand is completely nonchalant.

After, when we’re clearing the dishes away I ask my father about it. I don’t recall him ever cooking as a child, before or after my enhancements.

“Your mother refused to cook anything after our argument on the station.” He admitted, surprising me. “So I took initiative and learned while I was in prison as a surprise.”

“And he did an excellent job of it.” Mother interjected pulling us both into a hug.

He must have done a lot to make things up to her, I don’t ever remember her being this happy as a child either. It’s Molly who snaps me out of my reverie, dragging me into the family room.

“Are you coming, Uncle Julian?”

“Coming where?” I have no idea what she’s talking about, and she gives me an exasperated sigh.

“Mum and Dad are taking us ice skating at the pond. Are you coming?”

I don’t think I’ve ever been, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give it a try. “I guess I’ll go. What do I need?”

“Ice skates.” Is Keiko’s immediate answer as she enters the room, Yoshi in tow, dragging his pair of skates.

I smile at her politely. “Yes, anything other than skates?”

She thinks about it for a minute. “Hat, gloves, scarf, jacket? They’re all useful.”

Miles calls to me from the kitchen. “In here Julian. We’ll replicate you some skates.”

I shrug and join him. He’s already got his stack of winter wear piled on the counter, and mother is piling more there for me. I recognize the jacket I was wearing yesterday.

“What’s your shoe size?” Miles asks, drawing my attention back to him.

“10.”

His fingers dart over the replicator controls with a practiced speed. There’s a moment’s pause where he turns to size me up, and I frown at him. He mumbles something and turns back to finish the program. A moment later I’m presented with a brand new pair of black hockey skates.

“Now get your boots and your jacket on. You can change at the pond.”

A few minutes later, we’re walking towards the makeshift ice rink, mother and father waving at us from the window. Molly and Yoshi run ahead, both excited to go skating for the first time since last winner. When Miles, Keiko, and I finally arrive, Molly already has her skates on and is in the process of tying Yoshi’s laces. We take their spots on a bench as they dart onto the ice.

Keiko frowns as she catches sight of my skates. “You replicated him hockey skates?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Miles wonders.

“There’s no toe pick! I know you and Yoshi are fine, but –

“He’ll be fine Kei. Besides, with all his tennis and racquetball training he’d keep tripping over the pick. His center of gravity’s too far forward.”

I send him grateful smile, glad he’s remembered this from our many games during Keiko’s expeditions on Bajor. Being light on your feet and changing direction quickly requires balancing on the balls of your feet, in a way that means a toe pick is almost guaranteed to cause embarrassment. I finish tightening my laces and manage my way onto the frozen pond, executing a small turn to look back at Miles and Keiko without falling.

Miles shrugs. “See? Not bad.”

She gives him a shove in the shoulder, and I set off on my own, chuckling to myself. After a few minutes, I’m finally starting to get into the groove of things, so to speak. Molly seizes the opportunity at hand and wastes no time in trying to teach me how to do jumps and spins. Apparently her best friend has been figure skating for years and taught her a bunch of her tricks last year.

By the time my parents appear over the hill at the ponds side, I am capable of performing several basic jumps, spins, and lifts to Molly’s rather high standards. They wave all of us over, Molly and Yoshi both squealing in delight when they realize they’re carrying with them a large thermos of hot chocolate, which is evenly distributed between us as we all take seats on the benches.

After we are warmed up a bit and our beverages have been consumed, Molly drags me back onto the ice to continue choreographing her ‘routine’. I’m certain her eventual goal is to show me off to her friends before I leave, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. I’ll play along though, if it makes her happy. Personally, I think Miles is enjoying my suffering a bit too much, I suspect his less than graceful hockey like skating abilities have been a source of great annoyance to Molly since their arrival on Earth.

I allow Molly to dictate my skating techniques a while longer before finally begging off, exhaustion as my excuse. I return to where my parents are still sitting on a bench, and am shocked by how teary eyed my mother seems. I sit next to her opposite my father and find myself pulled into an unexpected hug.

“Mother?”

Surprisingly, it is father who answers my unspoken question.

“Jules…do you remember ever going skating as a child?”

“We went skating?” I frown, trying to remember this. It isn’t something I’d ever thought I’d done before. Of course, my memory was so bad before my enhancements I couldn’t tell the difference between a tree and a house. It’s not surprising that I wouldn’t be able to remember doing things. It takes a while, but my mind finally settles on the few memories relating to our upcoming trip to Adigeon Prime.

“It was…painful to watch.” Says father. I frown at him, but I can tell now is not the time to interrupt.

“You couldn’t take two steps on the ice without falling. With or without skates. And every time you fell, it hurt us as much to watch as it did you to land.”

Mother hugged me harder, picking up where father left off. “You just couldn’t balance Jules. But you tried so hard, got back up every time. You were the most determined little boy…the doctors didn’t give you that. I was afraid they’d take it away.”

And as she spoke, a memory started to rise up from the deepest recesses of my mind. There wasn’t much too it…dull achy pain all over from many sudden impacts with hard ice, sing song voices from all sides…probably bullies. They sing the same song in my few memories of the school playground. I wait patiently for one of them to continue, starting to understand why mother is so teary.

“There were other children skating too, and they teased you. I wanted to yell at them and sweep you up in my arms…”

“That was what did it, Jules.” My father states quietly. My gaze once again moves to him, and he elaborates.

“You had been struggling for so long…but we had never heard the teasing first hand before. And seeing you try so hard for hours and still fail…it was the final straw.” He sighed. “A week later we left for Adigeon Prime.”

Mother finally drew away. “But today…out there,” she gestured to the pond, where Miles and Yoshi were racing and Keiko had been pressed by Molly to act as my stand in.

“Out there, you were so graceful…so beautiful… I doubted what we did Jules, I really did. But when I compare the life you live now to the one you would have lived, I’d make the same decision every time.”

“Your accomplishments, your friends, they make it worth it Jules.” Father continues. “You never had friends before. Even if you hate us for it…just that will always make it worth it to us.”

We sit in silence for a long time, and when I finally speak, my voice is barely audible, even to myself.

“I don’t hate you.” I pull them into a hug. “I don’t hate you at all.”
After dinner that night the entire household sits down for a game of Yahtzee before going to bed. Yoshi and Molly’s excitement has been rising all evening, and I’m sure that by morning it will approach uncontainable levels. It is fortunate then, that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Miles informs my parents and I as we play that he and Keiko will be taking the kids out in the morning to pick a tree, inviting us to come along, but we all politely decline.

The game is fairly short and everyone decides to bed down for the night. I’m just settling myself under my blankets and preparing to shut off the light when my door creaks open and my parents enter. I frown, but wait for them to speak. My mother approaches first and gives me a kiss on the forehead.

“We just wanted to say we love you, Jules.”

Father leans down and gives me a kiss too.

“Goodnight Jules.”

I’m still slightly confused, but reply nonetheless. “Goodnight.”

They’re almost out the door when I feel the need to add something.

“Mother? Father?” I swallow. “I love you too. Both of you.”

And for the first time in 20 years, I mean it. With the smiles on their faces, I’m glad I do.
I sleep late the next morning, and when I finally get up, father has lunch cooking. There’s a big pot of soup simmering on the stove, and mother is moving a grilled cheese sandwich off the stove and placing it on a plate with others to stay warm. She smiles at me as I enter the room and gives me a hug.

“Sleep well?”

I nod. “Have you heard from Miles?”

“They’re on their way back.” Father says. “He’d like for you to help get the tree off the car before lunch.”

Soon enough, I hear the air car out front and head outside to help Miles while Keiko ushers the children inside. We quickly untie ropes, and Miles rolls the tree down for me to carry inside. Once it’s positioned properly, Keiko produces a pair of wire clippers for us to free the branches with. The children have to be forcibly led to the table for lunch, the only thing preventing a screaming fit being the knowledge they can decorate the pine after they eat.

It takes all afternoon, but Molly and Yoshi are clearly pleased with a job well done. I pick Yoshi up so he can place the star on top of the tree. Apparently Molly is the one who did it last year. Finally done, the children go outside to play in the snow, and the rest of us relax on the couch or in chairs.

“Sorry about all that.” Miles says, as his chair reclines back. “They never got to have a real tree on the station.”

Mother just chuckles. “It’s quite alright. Endearing, really.”

Keiko blushes at the compliment. “They’re wonderful kids. They’ve adjusted to living on Earth so well…”

“You can see it.” I tell her as father nods in agreement.

She smiles at me. “Thank you, Julian.”
The children go to bed early, willingly to my surprise. Miles tells me it’s because Santa won’t come if they aren’t asleep. I suspect he wishes this excuse would get them to bed the rest of the year.

“Listen, the kids will probably have us up to open presents around seven, so feel free to sleep in in the morning.” He tells me. My parents are already off to bed, and Keiko has disappeared to retrieve the children’s presents to place under the tree. When she reappears down the hall, we each rush in to relieve her of some of the wrapped boxes. When they’ve been placed to her satisfaction, we all take some time to unwind.

“Why the milk and cookies?” I ask, catching sight of the refreshments on the coffee table.

“They’re for Santa.” Keiko explains as Miles leans forward to retrieve the milk glass. He sips from and offers me cookies.

“Want some?”

I raise eyebrow at them. “Has Christmas always been this complicated?”

“Only since the late 19th century.”

“Mm.”

“So why didn’t you ever mention your family is Muslim?” Miles wonders after finishing his drink.

I shrug. “You never asked. Besides, we’ve never really practiced… it’s not really a part of who I am.”

“Well, that’s how most humans are nowadays.” Keiko muses. “I guess now it’s kind of unusual that Miles and I were both raised with religion in our lives.”

We spend another half hour in casual conversation before Miles and Keiko go to bed. I stay up awhile longer, replicating a pencil set and sketch pad. Before turning in, I add a few small boxes to the gifts under the tree. I may not celebrate Christmas, but it’s the least I can do for the O’Briens for forcing me off the station.
I was woken by Keiko the next morning as she delivered a tray with breakfast, scrambled eggs and toast. She set it on the nightstand for a moment sitting down to give me a hug.

“Julian, you shouldn’t have.”

“It was nothing, Keiko. Besides, I wanted to.”

She drew back. “I didn’t know you could draw like that.”

I smile at her. “It’s not that hard when it’s something you care about.”

She hugs me again. “Thank you, Julian.”

She leaves me to my breakfast, and after eating and dressing I return the tray to the kitchen. I find the rest of the household in the family room, father helping Yoshi build a castle with his new connecting block set, Keiko and Molly making bracelets together from her new craft kit. Miles and Mother are admiring the framed sketch of the four O’Briens I made last night after the everyone else went to bed. There are several scenes, pulled from my eidetic memory, including skating, Yahtzee, and my snowball fight with the kids.

Miles gives me a nod, and Mother gives me a hug. I hear a quiet ‘thanks’ from Miles as I take a seat next to them.

The rest of the day is lazy and relaxing, and I can’t recall being this cheerful since Miles was reassigned. Sure, I’ve had some good times on the station since then, but since Ezri and I broke up, I’ve only spent large amounts of free time with Kira, Nog, and Vic. I’m glad I came out here. If I had known my time on Earth would be like this, I would have come a lot sooner.

[identity profile] deeply-spaced.livejournal.com 2010-03-28 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Beautiful and touching and very satisfying. The moods you create are very real and wonderful. I could see it all and could even smell breakfast cooking. I wanted one of those grilled cheese sandwiches so badly!

I always imagined Julian would be gorgeous on skates. He moves so gracefully and with his long, lean lines ... sigh. I love the family interaction ... both O'Brien and Bashir. Very nice.

I really felt bad for him having to go back to the station and leave his best friends and family behind. He needs to find a job on earth, bless him.

Thank you so much for exceeding any expectation I could ever have of this story. You have definitely made me feel better!

You stayed up so late, bless your little, heart.

*hugs*

[identity profile] taricalmcacil.livejournal.com 2010-03-28 11:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

I wasn't up that late willingly. Came down with a terrible sinus headache, and I decided to post it while I waited for the drugs to kick in.
(deleted comment)

[identity profile] taricalmcacil.livejournal.com 2010-03-31 04:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Glad you enjoyed :)