Title: Destructive Patterns
Author: Dusk
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Pairing: ?/?
Rating: G
Summary: An alien reflects on Human holidays
Archive: yes, RSA only
Email: dusk@goldserve.net
Series/Sequel: doubtful
Disclaimer: The Station, the characters and everything Trek is the sole property of Paramount, and I make no claims to any of it.
Warnings: none, other than it's a little depressing. And odd. I guess I'm just feeling down :)
Posted: Rareslash, early 2000. GBX/Fuh-Q, feb 2000
Author's note: - this was originally posted under an earlier pseudonym, Sapphi.

~~~

I hate Christmas.

For a long time after the Humans came to the station, I ignored it. From the outside, it appears to be just another Human holiday. They have so many of them, you have to be born to them to tell the difference, as the joke goes. It's not particularly funny, but it's often repeated. Not in their hearing, of course, but then, there really aren't as many of them around here as you'd think. Starfleet may control the station now, but there are still mostly Bajoran personnel doing the less glamorous, behind the scenes work - repairs, things that are still greasy and grimy no matter how advanced the technology.

The ownership may have changed, but it doesn't really affect the long-time residents. Less chance of one's place of residence being broken in to, perhaps, fewer random beatings. But overall, life goes on regardless.

But I digress. Consider one of the unique facets of the Human species... the conglomeration of human subcultures somehow managed to occur without losing any of it's lesser components - translated into everyday language, that means that each and every human celebrates the holidays of every ethnic group and religion without knowing or even thinking about the history behind the event in question.

One time in the bar, during one of our long and frequent conversations, I asked Julian about this. He tried to explain that Christmas was different, though it sounded just the same to me. He explained about fellowship, and the spirit of giving, and the need to feast on roast birds and rich food and drink and have friends and family around you. He even nodded briefly at the origins of the holiday, though I later had to check the databanks for the full story. It surprised me, really, but of course the Humans must have some kind of spiritual past. Only in a few rare species - the Bajorans are a good example - has their religion co-existed with their technology. Most abandon belief systems once they discover science, but humans kept their holy days, just leaving behind the beliefs surrounding them.

My species is rare here. It's unusual even to see another face like mine... Humans, especially, know very little about us. So I know he wasn't aware that I hear every word he says as he walks away, that I hear what he says about me to his Starfleet friends. He doesn't mean to be cruel, it's not in his nature to be malicious. Just thoughtless. He's too polite to say anything to my face, but is of the impression that once he's walked away, I am no longer a part of his world. Yet I persist, push it to the back of my mind and pretend I haven't heard. And the next time we meet, I talk as if nothing had happened, talk about anything and everything just to keep him in my company for those few extra seconds. It's something I've spent countless hours trying to analyse why I continue in spite of his obvious views. And my conclusion?

Magnetism.

He draws people to him, and doesn't even realise it. Everyone feels it, even those who avoid him, for their own reasons. But I'm probably the only one who allows myself to be taken in by it.

And it's all futile.

I know this. It must be a self-destructive streak in me, that I can *acknowledge* that it's hopeless and still hope.

There is no hope.

I'm much older than him. I hardly have a compelling personality. By Human standards, I'm far from attractive. Come to think of it, by the standards of my race, he'd probably be considered ugly by even the politest of people. And yet.... There is a Human expression I learned from him. Hope springs eternal.

I'm an educated man, though few see that. I have a past, had a family once ... but it's all irrelevant. I'm a background figure on this station. People don't even notice me anymore. Julian Bashir was one of the few people to actually sit with me a while and talk, and even though I knew he was just a curious, young Human, it touched me. I started noticing him above all the other faceless aliens that inhabit this place.

I know I'm a joke here. I'm from far away, I look different, even my social habits and dress are different. I cling to the hope that one day, someone will come here who can truly look beyond this. I doubt others of my kind will ever make a home here. Why would they? What is there for them here, other than the company of one lonely old exile? Nothing. So I continue to hope that he is the open-minded alien I long for, though I know that he isn't. This isn't the contradiction that it sounds. Hope can exist, even with nothing to feed it on. I'm living proof.

The Terran year is a little over 365 24-hour days long. Other holidays are acknowledged, many of them, but Christmas is the only one that takes over peoples lives, becomes almost an obsession. And the same thing happens every cycle in the weeks leading up to the big day - Julian appears less and less often in the bar and around the various public places I look for him, eventually disappearing for days as preparations overwhelm normal routine. And my alcohol intake and depression increase with equal regularity.

I'm not blind. I can see the pattern.

A soft clink wakes me from my dismal thoughts and I focus on the slightly fuzzy orange face in front of me, then on the clearer mug of unidentifiable brown liquid that has replaced my empty one.

Quark nods at me, leaning on the bar. We've been through this before, yesterday, the day before. I know what he's going to ask me. And he'll ask me again tomorrow. Last year it was the same, and the year before that.

"Morn, are you sure you want this? Your tab's exceeded this time last year's by almost thirty percent. Are you going to tell me what's so special about this time of year?"

I shrug, and he goes away. He knows I pay my tab, regularly, or regular by my native calendar at least. The Orange Barkeep has sympathy, though he doesn't know why I drink, only that, like everyone, I have problems. I'm his best customer. He looks out for me because it would make a dent in his profits if I disappeared. For his race, that's close to friendship.

I turn my attention as always to the part of the bar set aside for the dartboard, in the vague hope that Julian will be over there, playing against the Chief Engineer, but they're both away at some private Human celebration, or maybe preparations for one. It's silly to expect him to be there. Once more I long for something I know is impossible.

A familiar feeling of despondency washes over me and I down the alien ale, accustomed to the bitter aftertaste after so many years of drinking the foul stuff. It's cheap, strong and always in stock. That's enough for me.

Everyone knows I spend all my time drinking myself into oblivion. No one ever asks why.

[end]



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