Title: A Consultation on the Status of Patient Garak
Author: mrs260
Series: DS9
Rating: G
Codes: Ezri, Bashir, G/B
Feedback: Any and all. Constructive crit welcome.
Summary: After the events of Afterimage, Ezri Dax meets with her new boss.

A Consultation on the Status of Patient Garak
by mrs260

"Lt. Dax? Please come in."

Julian's smile was broad and friendly, but professional. As she followed him into his office, Ezri's perceptions doubled and she shook her head to clear away the dichotomy of Jadzia's perceptions and this suddenly older, taller, and more intimidating man.

When they sat down, he said, "All right, first things first. You and I both know that general life experience is not proper training, so I've asked Dr. Telnori to mentor you until you're ready for certification, and she's agreed."

Ezri nodded, relieved. She hadn't been looking forward to struggling with the gap between her training and experience and the expectations of the position Benjamin had thrust her into. Jadzia remembered Dr. Telnori: as well as being extremely experienced, she was wise and kind and wrinkled with laughter.

"Now," Julian let himself relax a little, enough to show some worry, "what's Garak's condition?"

She straightened in her chair, trying to look as professional as possible. "The crisis has been alleviated, and he's stable. He'll need medium term treatment, though, to fully address both the current emotional trigger and the phobia itself."

He nodded, making a note on a PADD. "Continue."

"Cardassians are difficult to hypnotise even under ideal conditions, and since the patient didn't trust me or the theraputic process I decided against hypnotherapy as an option. I used talk therapy to explore both the initial cause of the phobia and the trigger that caused it to escalate so suddenly; I used relaxation to try to relieve the immediate symptoms. Once he's been stable for long enough I'd like to pursue a program for him that will help him resolve the phobia itself. He trusts me more than he did, and I think he'll cooperate even though he's not in crisis anymore."

"Good." He made more notes, then smiled at her again, this time sympathetically. "I'm sorry you got thrown into the deep end like this. Garak's not an easy patient for anyone to handle."

Jadzia's humour surfaced, along with her memory of a younger man struggling with the same difficult patient. "He only made me cry once," she remarked wryly.

Julian obviously recognized the momentary emergence, shaking himself and taking cover in another professional question. "What type of treatment program are you planning to pursue?"

"In the past, he's used a self-devised version of cognitive reframing to cope with attacks; considering the severity of the phobia he's been remarkably successful. I'd like to help him improve those skills for acute situations. A Cardassian doctor would likely pursue a strict exposure therapy program to address the claustrophobia itself, with an emphasis on improving self-discipline, but after a crisis like he's just had I think it would just put us back where we started. I'd like to pursue a systematic desensitization program instead."

"That sounds sensible to me," he said, making another note.

"I just hope it sounds sensible to him. I'm concerned that he'll be impatient with the pace."

"Can you accelerate it? Make it 'strict' enough for him?"

She hesitated. "I've used desensitization before, but I've never modified a standard program. On the Destiny the head counselor was the one who designed customized treatment programs."

"Dr. Telnori can help you with that. Give me a report once you've come up with a concrete medium-term treatment plan, and keep me informed about Garak's progress."

She nodded.

Instead of finishing up, he hesitated for a moment, then said very seriously, "I'd like to thank you. There's no way I could have given Garak the help he needed."

Now that was some interesting body language... embarrassed? "Because you don't have the training, or because you're too close to be objective?"

"Both," he said, his mouth curling into a blushing grin.

"And when did this happen?" she gasped, delighted. I knew it! Curzon crowed in her head.

"After you--after she died. Ziyal was dead, Jadzia was dead, maybe we were both looking for comfort... but we've been close for a long time. Maybe we just needed a push to act on feelings that were already there."

"Well, I'm very happy for you," she said, smiling and patting his hand.

"You're the only one I've told," he added quietly. "Not even Miles knows. I just wanted to thank you properly. I know how cruel he can be when he's suffering."

"I'm glad I could help, and I won't say a word."

After a moment they stood, and he ushered her out. As they headed out through the main doors of the infirmary he murmured, "There, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

She smiled up at him, "You make a decent boss."


"That sounds good--I think..."