DISCLAIMER: Star Trek, Star Trek:Deep Space Nine and its characters are copyright Paramount and no infringement is intended. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan 1995.

GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

Part One

Julian Bashir moved around his quarters whistling cheerfully to himself. He was packing his bags, preparing to take some much needed leave from DS9. When Commander Sisko had first suggested he could use a holiday he'd resisted the idea, but now he was looking forward to it with eager anticipation. Being the only doctor on the station was hard work at times, and much as he loved his job the thought of several weeks of total relaxation was exceptionally enticing!

He had handed over the infirmary to a competent Bajoran medic earlier that morning, and there was nothing more for him to do but pack his bags and wait for his travelling companion to arrive. It had taken some fast talking on his part to convince his friend that a break on Risa would do them both a world of good, but eventually Garak had set aside his misgivings and agreed to make the trip.

It was some months now since Julian and Garak had taken the first steps from simple friendship to something more intimate, and neither of them had yet had cause to regret it. Julian often wondered why it had taken him so long to figure out Garak's feelings towards him. Well, hopefully this trip would allow them to make up some of that lost time. It would also be a relief to spend time together without the eyes of half the people on DS9 upon them!

Julian was well aware of the mixed reactions to his burgeoning relationship with the Cardassian tailor. In the main he had met with stunned disbelief, but a few of the station's Bajoran inhabitants had displayed a stronger reaction. Eventually, Julian had learned to ignore them.

His colleagues had generally been more understanding. Commander Sisko had accepted the situation philosophically. Personally he didn't trust Garak, but what the doctor did in his own time was his business. Kira had made a few pointed comments at the outset, but Julian had faced her down and now she paid them no attention. Dax had been the most sympathetic of all. She'd sat Julian down and had a long heart to heart with him. She was the only one who had actually asked if being with Garak made him happy. When Julian had answered in the affirmative she told him in no uncertain terms that that was the only thing that mattered. Now they were better friends than they had ever been.

The door chimed, and Julian called out that it was open. A moment later Garak entered his quarters, travelling bag in hand. He was dressed only slightly less sombrely than usual, in a deep, rusty red tunic and trousers. The tailor took the opportunity to appraise the doctor's own outfit. He so rarely saw him dressed in anything other than his uniform. Today Julian had chosen a loose shirt of pale blue, worn over a pair of tight, dark blue trousers. As the doctor turned, Garak noticed that his hair was a little more tousled than usual too.

"Well, doctor, I'm all packed," said the Cardassian with a smile. "I trust you haven't changed your mind about going. I've told all my regular customers that my shop will be closed for several weeks."

"Of course I haven't changed my mind, Garak," said Julian, grinning broadly. "I wouldn't miss this for anything."

"Well then, if you're ready, shall we go?" Garak regarded the doctor affectionately, marvelling anew at the wonderful change that had taken place in their relationship. The tailor hadn't been so contented in many years, and it was a feeling he intended to cling to for as long as he could.

Julian threw the last few items into his bag and closed it. Casually he slung it over his shoulder and indicated that Garak should lead the way. They headed along the corridor in companionable silence, making for the turbolift which would take them to the docking ring and their transport.


The trip to Risa was long and uneventful. Julian was glad it was finally over and he could really relax and start to enjoy the fact of being there with Garak. He stood and surveyed their suite with approval. The main room was light and airy. It was dominated by the large bed, strewn with pillows and cushions. It looked soft and inviting; the doctor was looking forward to testing it, as a pleasant change from DS9's hard Cardassian beds! Gauzy curtains screened the high windows and hung round the bed, creating a pleasantly intimate atmosphere. In the smaller room leading off this one Julian knew a large spa bubbled away - he was rather looking forward to indulging himself in there too!

Garak appeared at Julian's shoulder and the doctor turned to him with a smile.

"I'm glad we're doing this, Garak. It's good to get away from the station for a while," said Julian with a contented sigh.

"Oh, I quite agree, doctor, being the focus of station gossip does become a little tiring at times," observed Garak, only half jokingly.

"You don't have any regrets about all this, do you, Garak? After all, it was you who began this relationship." Julian studied the Cardassian's face intently.

"None at all, my dear doctor, I for one am perfectly happy with the way things are," replied Garak.

"Do I really make you happy though?" asked Julian slowly. The tailor could see the uncertainty in the doctor's eyes.

"Yes," he answered simply, "but I thought that you knew that."

"I suppose I do," admitted Julian with a faint smile. "It's just good to hear you say it from time to time."

Garak moved quickly, taking Julian into his arms. The doctor pressed himself against the Cardassian eagerly, enjoying the warmth of his embrace. He sought out Garak's mouth with his own, kissing him hungrily. The tailor returned the kiss, his tongue slipping between Julian's lips caressingly. As the doctor's eyelids fluttered shut, Garak felt his slender body relax against him.

It required only a minimal effort to manoeuvre the doctor to the bed and to push him down onto it. As Garak prepared to join him he saw that Julian's eyes were open again and he was smiling up at his friend invitingly. Once more the Cardassian was struck by the doctor's seductive beauty. His breath caught in his throat and it was all he could do to stop himself from tearing Julian's clothes from him, just to see the delights beneath.

Julian was well aware of the effect he was having on Garak. He found it arousing to watch the Cardassian controlling his body's instinctive responses. Sometimes they gave their passions free rein, meeting one another with wild abandon, but at other times they would deliberately hold back, taking things tantalisingly slowly. Now was one of those times, and Julian could feel the heat building in his groin as his arousal intensified.

He held out his arms to Garak and the Cardassian lay down on the bed, covering Julian's body with his own. Slowly they moved against one another, each feeling the other's hardness pressing into them through their clothing. Carefully Julian began to work at the fastenings of Garak's clothes, easing each item from his body. As ever he delighted in the heat of the Cardassian's skin as his hands ran lightly over it.

"Can I undress you?" whispered Garak, his chest rising and falling with his rapid breaths.

"No, not yet!" Julian's breathing was equally ragged as he fought the impulse to allow the tailor to do as he wished. Garak's hands strayed over his body, crushing the fine material of his shirt and Julian gasped at the intense sensations flooding through him.

"Please, doctor," implored Garak, his lips at the younger man's throat. He trailed kisses down the smooth skin of Julian's neck and chest until he encountered the soft material again. With a sudden, inarticulate cry of frustration his hands ripped at the confining silk, pulling the shirt from the doctor's body. Julian went rigid with shock and Garak drew back in distress.

"My dear doctor, I'm sorry," he murmured, his expression contrite. "I don't know what came over me."

"I do," said Julian with a slight smile, as he forced himself to relax again. He glanced briefly at his ruined shirt before regarding the Cardassian ruefully. "I shouldn't have teased you like that. I'm sorry." He reached out and lightly caressed Garak's cheek, feeling him tremble at the touch. "Why don't you finish undressing me, Garak. Though maybe you should stick to the conventional method this time."

The tailor didn't need to be asked twice and in moments he held Julian's naked body in his arms. He resumed his exploration of the doctor's smooth, caramel skin with his lips and tongue, feeling Julian become steadily more aroused. The Cardassian had himself back under control now and he took the lead, directing the progress of the doctor's arousal.

Julian enjoyed putting himself in Garak's hands like this. It was exciting, never being sure what he would do next, and while he often did initiate things between them himself there was somehow a more intense pleasure in allowing the Cardassian to take control. Right now Garak had turned his attention to Julian's erection, his tongue stimulating it gently. He felt the tremor which ran through the doctor's slender frame and a smile touched his lips. He was well aware that that particular caress turned Julian on more than any other.

The ache in Julian's groin was becoming almost too much to bear. His nerve endings felt like they were on fire. He wanted nothing more than to feel Garak's talented mouth close around his erection, but he knew the tailor was holding back deliberately, paying him back for teasing him earlier. Julian gasped again as he felt Garak's lips tease at him momentarily and then withdraw.

"Garak!" he murmured in an agony of anticipation.

"Yes, doctor?" There was an unmistakable hint of amusement in the Cardassian's voice.

"You're a cruel man, Garak," complained Julian in an aggrieved tone.

"But you love me anyway," concluded the tailor archly. Julian laughed in spite of himself.

"You know that I do, Garak," he returned with a smile, which died on his lips as he realised it was the first time he'd actually admitted that - to himself or Garak.

He met the tailor's pale eyes wonderingly, and found the same expression of surprise reflected back at him.

"Well, well, doctor - many a true word as they say," observed the Cardassian slowly.

"I'm sorry, Garak. If you don't..." Julian looked flustered. The tailor gently placed his fingers against the doctor's lips to silence him.

"Not at all, my dear doctor, I'm glad it's finally been said. I wasn't entirely sure if love was what you felt for me. No, hear me out," he said quickly, as Julian tried to interrupt. "I knew you enjoyed the time we spent together, but I wasn't certain whether there was any more to it than that." Garak smiled again, but there was a catch in his voice as he continued. "I'm gratified to discover that there is."

Julian pulled Garak closer against him, wrapping his arms tightly about the Cardassian. As he did so his body's demands reasserted their hold over him and he moaned as Garak's hot erection pressed against his own. He sought the tailor's mouth and began to kiss him deeply, drawing an immediate response from Garak.

Any thought of further restraint was impossible, the tide of arousal which swept over them was too intense. They thrust urgently against one another, seeking release, and their mutual cries increased in volume as they pleasured one another. Julian was the first to lose control, but Garak was a mere heartbeat behind him. For a timeless instant they shared their joy, until exhaustion claimed them and they lay panting, in a tangle of limbs, on the wrecked bed.

Slowly Julian opened his eyes and found Garak watching him affectionately. Carefully the Cardassian rolled off of him, propping himself up on one elbow and surveying the doctor's body with approval. Julian's skin was sheened with sweat and tinted with a faint rosy blush. To Garak's eyes he had never looked more appealing.

It had taken Julian a long while to get used to the tailor's habit of watching him intently, sweeping his body from head to toe with an intense scrutiny. At first he had found it highly embarrassing; now it never failed to arouse him and he felt his body begin to stir again in response. Garak smiled gently, enjoying the beautiful picture made by the doctor as he stretched lazily, moving with an almost feline grace.

"Ah, my dear, sweet doctor, such delightful possibilities offer themselves to us. Shall we explore them?" he asked seductively.

"Shall I tell you what I'd like to explore, Garak?" responded Julian in kind.

"Of course, doctor!" smiled the Cardassian. Julian leaned across and whispered conspiratorially to him at some length. All the while Garak's eyes widened in surprise. The doctor was grinning broadly by the time he drew back, enjoying the tailor's shocked expression.

"Are you serious, doctor?" asked Garak after a long moment.

"What do you think?" laughed Julian.

"I think you're teasing me again," concluded Garak with an answering smile. The doctor's wicked grin told him he was right.

"But it was fun seeing your expression when you thought I was serious," said Julian with an impish smirk.

"I never realised before just what a vivid imagination you have, doctor." Garak regarded the younger man with interest, as if his curiosity had been piqued. "So, what else can you imagine for us?"

"Well, I don't know about you, Garak, but after our journey the idea of relaxing in the spa with some good food and a cool drink is incredibly appealing," said Julian. "After that, who knows..."

Ten minutes later, Garak was indeed relaxing in the spa, a glass of kanaar in his hand. Julian reclined elegantly by the edge of the spa, a tray of food in front of him. The doctor sipped slowly from his own glass, he wasn't entirely sure what it contained, though Garak had assured him he would find the taste pleasing. He had to admit the Cardassian had been right about that, but the slight tingling he was beginning to feel through his nerve endings led him to suspect the drink wasn't as innocent as it looked.

Garak regarded his companion steadily, a hint of amusement dancing in his clear blue eyes.

"Are you enjoying your drink, doctor?" he asked disingenuously.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I am, but I would like to know exactly what it is," replied Julian.

"Oh, it's quite popular - in certain circles, on Cardassia," said Garak lightly. "It's called tianor."

"Tianor," repeated Julian slowly, unable to recall having heard the name before. "Garak, would you mind telling me precisely what that is. I feel rather - strange."

"I'm sure you do, doctor, but it's not an unpleasant sensation, is it? The juice is, after all, renowned for its - pleasure enhancing qualities, shall we say," announced Garak with a sly smile.

Julian's eyes widened in surprise and he found himself at a loss for words. No wonder he felt so - sensitised. Garak set down his glass and shifted his position, until his face was only inches away from the doctor's.

"I really do suggest we eat, before the food gets cold," said the tailor, his eyes glittering brightly. Before Julian could reply, Garak dipped his fingers into one of the dishes, fishing out a choice morsel and offering it to the doctor. After a moment's hesitation Julian opened his mouth, accepting the proffered piece of food. The Cardassian watched as he ate and then repeated the gesture.

"Don't you want anything?" asked Julian, as Garak made no move to take any food for himself.

"Oh, I think you know what I want, my dear doctor," replied the tailor simply.

"Well, you can have that soon enough," said Julian with an affectionate grin. "In the meantime you should still eat!" Mirroring the Cardassian's actions, the doctor scooped up some of the contents of the nearest dish. Garak accepted the offering without comment, his tongue lingering a moment to caress the younger man's fingertips. Julian gasped as his tianor heightened senses reacted to the touch. On an impulse he held out his glass to Garak.

"Why thank you, doctor!" said the tailor. "I must admit I haven't drunk tianor myself in a long time. It may be - an interesting experience." With that he took the glass from Julian and drained it; as he set it down by the side of the spa he returned his attention to their meal. "Now, where were we?"

The two companions finished eating in silence. Each was becoming increasingly aware of the progress of the tianor as it permeated their body, setting their senses alight. For Garak, the bubbling of the water against his skin was the most exquisite torture, stimulating every part of him. He wanted nothing more than to pull Julian into the spa with him, but to his frustration the doctor rose and disappeared into the outer room, carrying the tray.

When he returned, Julian was holding another dish. He held it out for Garak's inspection as he finally stepped into the spa, settling himself comfortably at the tailor's side.

"I'danian spice pudding," he said, by way of explanation, "I thought you might like something sweet to finish." Julian regarded Garak coquettishly through his long, dark lashes.

"Oh, I certainly had something sweet in mind," agreed the tailor, "but it wasn't spice pudding!"

"I can guarantee you'll enjoy this," insisted Julian with an inviting smile. He offered a little of the dessert to Garak on the tip of his finger. With considerable delicacy the Cardassian licked the creamy confection from the doctor's hand. He knew it was a particular favourite of Julian's. The taste was pleasant enough, but...

Garak's body tensed as he felt Julian begin to caress his chest lightly. He glanced down, and was startled to find the doctor drawing swirls of the spice pudding across his skin, its creamy hue standing out boldly against the grey of his own colouring.

"Doctor, what are you doing?"

"Oh, I just enjoy finding new ways of serving my favourite foods, don't you?" replied Julian brightly. Before Garak could frame a coherent response the doctor bent his head and began delicately licking the sweet, sticky desert from the tailor's skin. Garak gasped involuntarily as Julian's agile tongue caressed him, and the fire of arousal swept through him. He felt a profound sense of disappointment when the doctor drew back, licking his lips provocatively and watching him with some amusement.

"Would you like some now, Garak?" he asked teasingly, offering the dish to the Cardassian. As he took it, Julian leaned back against the edge of the spa, allowing Garak access to his entire upper body.

The tailor didn't need to be asked twice and he set to work with a will, his hands swiftly adorning Julian with a trail of spice pudding running from the base of his throat, around his nipples, and down to his waist. As Garak put the dish aside and began the task of licking the sweet confection, only a shade lighter than Julian's smooth skin, from the doctor's slender body, he could feel the younger man trembling in anticipation.

Garak worked his way slowly down from Julian's throat, lingering a little longer than was strictly necessary over each of his taut nipples, teasing the doctor with the maddeningly slow strokes of his tongue. Given how aroused he felt himself, with the tianor heightening every one of his senses, he could well imagine the effect his ministrations were having on Julian.

The doctor could barely hold himself still. His fingers tangled convulsively in Garak's smooth, dark hair and he moaned softly as the tailor explored each new expanse of his skin. So caught up in the delicious sensations was Julian, that he barely noticed when Garak finally completed his slow journey. A moment later he felt an electrifying jolt as the Cardassian pulled him into his arms, their bodies touching along their entire length. He relaxed into the embrace, allowing himself to be drawn deeper into the warmth of the bubbling water, feeling it tickling at his skin delightfully.

"Well, doctor," observed Garak between kisses, "I do believe that was the most interesting meal I've had in a long time."

"Mmmm, it was enjoyable, wasn't it," agreed Julian dreamily. "I don't think I shall ever be able to look at a bowl of I'danian spice pudding in quite the same way again."

"And what would you like now, doctor?" enquired Garak, his blue eyes reflecting his own desire. He trembled as Julian reached up and gently traced a fingertip along the sensitive ridges on his face and at the side of his neck. It felt like a candle flame being drawn across his skin and he cried aloud at the intensity of the sensation. Julian smiled beatifically.

"I'd like you inside me, Garak," he murmured. "I can feel how much you want me." To prove his point he brushed himself lightly against the tailor's eager erection, provoking another vocal reaction.

"And do you want me any less, my dear doctor?" breathed Garak as he turned Julian in his arms, settling the younger man so his head rested against one of the Cardassian's broad shoulders. The tailor slid his arms around Julian's slim waist, reaching down with one hand to lightly caress his erect sex. The doctor's eyelids fluttered shut and his full lips parted slightly. He turned his head until he could reach to nibble gently at Garak's neck, enjoying the tailor's deep throated moans.

Carefully, Garak pressed himself closer to Julian's body, his erection hard against the doctor's pert backside. Julian angled his hips slightly and sighed with pleasure as he felt the tailor slowly enter him from behind. The delicious sensation of Garak's erection filling him, combined with the effects of the tianor, and the feeling of floating in the warm water of the spa, left Julian in a daze.

As if in a dream he was aware of Garak's hands caressing him, skilfully teasing at his sex until it throbbed with the need for release. All the while Julian could feel the tailor's lips straying over the sensitised skin of his back, seeming to leave circles of fire wherever they touched. And most intensely he felt Garak thrusting slowly and steadily into him, as he pressed back in response, building towards a climax that threatened to overwhelm him at any moment.

Garak could sense Julian's increasing arousal, the movement of his hips becoming more frenzied by the minute. His own thrusts became more vigorous as he responded to the doctor's passion. Suddenly, Julian cried aloud as he came, pressing himself hard against Garak's body. The abrupt tightening of his muscles was enough to send the tailor over the edge as well, clutching Julian to him in a fierce embrace.

For a long moment the two men floated on a tide of mutual pleasure, the aftershocks resonating through their bodies for longer still. Slowly Julian re-collected himself, turning his head to smile drowsily at Garak. The tailor looked equally contented as he settled the doctor in a more comfortable position against him, unwilling to allow him to move too far from him.

"If the rest of our stay on Risa is as enjoyable as today, I shall be glad you convinced me to come with you," said Garak with a smile.

"I did tell you it would be fun, Garak," said Julian, yawning hugely and tucking himself more snugly into the tailor's embrace.

"I'm not sure it would be a good idea to go to sleep here, doctor," observed Garak.

"I can hardly keep my eyes open though," admitted Julian reluctantly. Carefully the Cardassian extricated himself, ignoring the doctor's half hearted protests. He stepped from the spa and retrieved a large, soft towel, holding it out invitingly. With a sigh Julian also climbed out of the spa and allowed Garak to wrap him in it. While the tailor found a second towel for himself, the doctor wandered back into the main room.

When Garak followed him a few minutes later Julian was already asleep, stretched out on the bed with the towel still around him. The Cardassian stood watching him, smiling indulgently.

"Good night - and sweet dreams, doctor," he whispered softly.


Julian woke early the following morning, feeling relaxed. He shivered, and discovered he was still wrapped in the slightly damp towel from the night before. He glanced over his shoulder to find Garak stretched out behind him, still deeply asleep. Carefully he sat up and swung his feet onto the floor. He padded across to the room's replicator, quietly ordering his habitual Tarkalian tea. He sipped at the hot, sweet beverage as he discarded the now redundant towel.

Slowly he ran a hand down over his naked body, enjoying the faint tingling his touch provoked. A deeper thrill ran through him at the memory of Garak's hands moving over his skin, caressing him, exciting him. He glanced across to where the tailor lay sleeping, an affectionate smile tugging at his lips. He resisted the temptation to return to bed and slowly finished his tea, amusing himself by fantasising about what other pursuits he and Garak might find to entertain them during their stay on Risa.

As Garak still showed no sign of waking, Julian decided to go out and do a little exploring on his own account. He dressed quickly, in tight black trousers and a creamy coloured, loose cotton shirt. He studied his reflection briefly, tugging his hair into some semblance of order. His cheeks were shadowed with dark stubble, but after a moment's consideration he decided against shaving - he wasn't on duty now. Satisfied with the picture he presented, he left the suite and headed out into the early morning sunshine.

Julian soon found himself in the midst of a small market, busy even at this early hour. Several of the stalls caught his eye and he paused for a closer look, admiring the skilfully made trinkets on display. As Julian browsed the smell of cooking attracted his attention, reminding him that he hadn't eaten since the previous night. The food vendor's stall was close by and he stopped to buy one of the hot, savoury pastries on offer before continuing on his way. He ate as he walked, enjoying the pleasant, but unfamiliar taste of his impromptu breakfast.

The doctor soon lost track of time as he strolled through the marketplace, and it was over an hour later when he guiltily realised that Garak had no idea where he was and would probably be worried about him. Hurriedly he retraced his steps, making his way back to their lodgings.

As soon as Julian reached the entrance to the suite he was sure that something was wrong. He was quite certain that he'd closed the door on his way out, but now it stood partially open. All his instincts, born of his Starfleet training, went on immediate alert.

"Garak?" he called out uncertainly.

"Here, doctor..." came the reply, strangely muffled and abruptly cut off. Julian stepped slowly into the room, and the door closed suddenly behind him. He spun around and gasped in shock at what he saw. The familiar figure of Gul Dukat confronted him, regarding him with a mixture of contempt and amusement.

"Ah, Doctor Bashir! So, the reports I received were correct after all," he observed, as he moved away from the door, and back into the centre of the room. Julian turned to follow him, but pulled up short, his eyes widening in horror, at the sight which greeted him.

Garak lay on the floor, still naked, his body and his face both bruised and bloody, as if he'd been on the receiving end of a beating. One look at Dukat's face was enough to convince the doctor that that was precisely what had happened. Two more Cardassian's stood over the tailor's prone form, their disruptors pointed threateningly at Julian.

"What do you want here, Gul Dukat?" demanded Julian angrily. "You have no right to force your way in here like this; you have no jurisdiction on Risa." The doctor began to edge closer to the fallen figure of Garak.

"Doctor, please stay where you are," said Dukat evenly. "I would hate for there to be any misunderstanding, should one of my men interpret your movements as threatening."

"Garak's hurt; he needs attention," snapped Julian, his eyes blazing with anger and concern. "Please feel free to assure your men that I'm unarmed and no threat to anyone." He met Dukat's eyes steadily, trying to project an air of confidence that he certainly didn't feel. He knew he had little chance against three armed Cardassians, but he had no intention of giving Dukat the satisfaction of seeing how nervous he actually was.

"I'm afraid Garak is no longer your concern." Dukat looked at the doctor with faint amusement, his knowing smile grating on Julian's already ragged nerves. "You'll have to find another companion for the rest of your stay on Risa. I'm sure that won't be too difficult for a personable young man such as yourself." The Cardassian shook his head slightly. "I must say though, doctor, that you do have a strange taste in - friends."

"That's my prerogative!" retorted Julian, his irritation emboldening him. "Now, I insist that you let me treat Garak's wounds. I'm a doctor, and I won't just stand by quietly and see an injured man go untreated."

"Oh, very well," said Dukat in a long-suffering tone of voice, "a few minutes will make little difference." He turned to the two Cardassian soldiers. "Let the doctor treat the tailor, he's no danger to us."

Julian scooted across the room, retrieved the med-kit he always made a point of keeping to hand, and moved to kneel beside Garak. Carefully he ran a tricorder over his friend's body, the routine familiarity of the procedure helping to calm him. The injuries were, thankfully, not too severe, but the tailor showed definite signs of concussion and a couple of his ribs were cracked; Julian knew he didn't have the equipment to deal effectively with those. He could do something about the Cardassian's bruised and battered face though. He reached into the med-kit for the tissue regenerator.

"How do you feel, Garak?" asked Julian quietly as he set to work.

"I've felt better, doctor," replied the Cardassian sardonically, his gaze shifting to where Dukat stood watching them silently. He tried to sit up, but Julian placed a hand firmly on his shoulder, restraining him.

"Lie still, you have some cracked ribs and a concussion. I don't want you to move any more than necessary. I'll heal what I can, but I don't have all the equipment I need. I'm sorry." Julian's face was carefully controlled, but Garak knew him well enough to sense the concern, and the fear, he was masking.

"I'm alright, doctor," he said gently. "There's nothing for you to worry about." But plenty for me to worry about he added to himself. On Deep Space Nine Dukat couldn't touch me, but here...

"Then what's going on here?" Julian demanded to know, his voice disrupting Garak's gloomy train of thought.

"What is going on, Doctor Bashir," came Dukat's voice from just behind him, "is that this traitor is being taken back to Cardassia, to answer for his crimes against the Cardassian people."

"What?" Julian jumped to his feet, spinning round to look at Dukat in disbelief. "You already exiled him, what more do you want?" The smile which crossed the Gul's face was not pleasant and Julian felt faintly nauseous as he realised what Dukat intended.

"You really don't want to know, Doctor Bashir. Now, if you've finished..."

"No, I haven't finished! I haven't even begun yet, Gul Dukat!" spat Julian. As his fury erupted he launched himself at the Cardassian, wanting to wipe the infuriatingly smug expression from his face. He heard Garak's warning cry, but there was nothing he could do. His momentum carried him forward and the beam from one of the Cardassian soldiers' disruptors seared across his chest. A look of surprise crossed his face momentarily, and then he fell to the floor, senseless.

"Damn you, Dukat!" Garak looked up at the Gul with anger blazing from his eyes. "There was no need for that, he couldn't have harmed you!"

"Is he dead?" asked Dukat coolly. Garak pulled himself across to Julian with an effort, feeling the pain from his ribs acutely. His head spun dizzily, and he had to pause for a moment to collect himself. He picked up the discarded tricorder and ran it over the doctor's body, frowning at the unfamiliar display.

"He's alive, Dukat, and you'd better hope he stays that way." Garak glared at his old adversary. "I don't think Starfleet would take too kindly to the news that you'd killed one of their officers."

Dukat looked irritated, but after a moment's consideration he turned to his men.

"We'll have to take both of them. Bring the medical kit, and find something to cover him with; Doctor Bashir may find the sight of him appealing, but I do not." Dukat turned back to Garak. "You, tailor, can make sure the doctor does stay alive. Consider it as one last service you can perform for the Cardassian people."

Continued in part two