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.


Part Two

Julian awoke to darkness, and pain. He looked around in mounting panic, trying to see where he was. He struggled to sit up, and let out an involuntary cry as a hand pressed gently against his shoulder, holding him down.

"Keep still, doctor, you took a disruptor blast in the chest and I'm really not sure if I've been treating it correctly." At the sound of Garak's voice Julian sighed with relief.

"Garak, thank god! Are you alright?" The doctor could just make out the outline of his friend bending over him, as his eyes gradually grew accustomed to the gloom. It wasn't totally dark as he had at first believed, but the level of light was still much better suited to Cardassian eyes than to human ones.

"I'm fine, doctor. It's you I'm worried about. The effects of a Cardassian disruptor can be - unpleasant," said Garak slowly. He sat back on his heels, turning the tissue regenerator he had been using on Julian's chest over and over in his hands. The doctor watched Garak's nervous fidgeting in silence for a moment before speaking.

"Do you know where we are?" he asked fearfully.

"At the moment we're still on Risa, doctor, though I don't know precisely where," replied Garak. "It won't have been possible for Dukat to bring a Cardassian warship into orbit without attracting unwelcome attention. He and his men must have come in as regular transit passengers. I imagine we're being held here until a shuttle, or some such, is dispatched to pick us up discreetly."

"Then what?" enquired the doctor with some trepidation.

"Then Dukat will doubtless see that you are returned safely to Deep Space Nine," said Garak with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

"I meant, what will he do with you?" persisted Julian.

"Oh, Dukat fully intends to take me back to Cardassia Prime, I'm afraid. Then he'll put me on trial, and I fear he won't be satisfied with anything less than my death this time," said Garak simply.

"I won't let that happen, Garak," insisted Julian stubbornly. "He has no right..."

"Doctor, you're really not in any position to prevent Dukat from doing as he pleases. I took a risk in leaving DS9's dubious sanctuary, and regrettably this is the outcome. There's nothing you or I can do to change that now," said Garak reasonably.

"So, this is all my fault," said Julian miserably. "If I hadn't insisted that you come on this damn trip..."

"It's not your fault and it's very easy to be wise - with the benefit of hindsight," pointed out the tailor gently. "Besides which, I wanted to come here with you. Now, lie still and tell me what else I need to do to check your condition."

Julian let the change of subject pass and motioned Garak to hand him the tricorder. He surveyed himself with it and studied the results. He sighed in relief as he saw the damage was relatively minor, and well on the way to healing with the care Garak had already given him. Evidently the disruptor had been on a low level setting. Julian showed the display to the tailor with a faint smile.

"See, Garak, I'm fine. You did the right thing using the tissue regenerator. Another session with it and there'll be nothing to see at all. I wish I could say the same thing for my shirt though," he added ruefully, looking at the scorched patch left by the disruptor. He sat up and pulled himself closer to Garak. "Now, come here and let me check you. I doubt if moving around has done anything to improve the state of your ribs."

Julian checked the Cardassian thoroughly, and was gratified to find his condition slightly improved. The surface bruising had responded well to the treatment he'd been able to give him earlier and the effects of the concussion no longer seemed to be troubling him. It rapidly became apparent though that the cracked ribs were causing him a lot of pain.

"You don't have to be so damned stoical," said Julian with mock severity. "I can give you something for the pain." He searched through his med-kit until he found what he was looking for.

"There's no need, doctor," Garak demurred. "I'm fine."

"I'm the doctor, so I think I'll be the best judge of that," insisted Julian. "And you're not fine; you need proper treatment."

"Doctor, I know you're worried..."

"Of course I'm worried," admitted Julian, interrupting him. He carefully pressed the hypospray against the tailor's neck, seeing him relax slightly as the painkiller entered his system. "When I saw you lying on the floor like that I didn't know what the hell was going on," he continued.

"Well, it didn't do much for my nerves to see you struck by a disruptor," said Garak with asperity. "That was a foolish thing to do"

"I couldn't just let him take you, Garak! I know how Cardassian trials work." Julian paused as his voice threatened to crack. "I can't simply stand by and let him kill you."

"Doctor, I'm sorry, but there really is nothing you can do," said Garak, his voice barely more than a whisper. "Dukat has good reason to want me dead, and I no longer have the - connections I once had to protect me."

Julian sat looking at the tailor for a moment longer, then he closed the space between them. Carefully he slipped his arms around Garak, holding on to him as tightly as he dared, not wanting to hurt him any more, but needing the reassurance of the physical contact. Gratefully the Cardassian returned the embrace, wincing slightly as he did so. Julian tried to draw back, but Garak merely tightened his grip, unwilling to let him go. The tailor felt an unaccustomed emotion sweep over him and he shuddered. Julian looked at him in concern.

"Garak..." he ventured tentatively.

"I'm sorry. I - I find myself somewhat - apprehensive," said Garak quietly. "It seems that I've finally run out of options, and I... I'm at a loss to know how to deal with this situation."

"I understand," murmured Julian, his concerned brown eyes meeting Garak's fear haunted blue ones. "In your shoes I'd be afraid too. It's nothing to be ashamed of. And whatever I can do, I will. I'm not going to let Dukat kill you - not without a fight anyway..." Julian's voice broke completely, and he laid his head against Garak's broad shoulder. The tailor stroked his hair softly, offering him what little comfort he could.

"Thank you," Garak whispered, his lips brushing the doctor's cheek in a gentle caress, "Julian..." The last was said almost inaudibly and the younger man raised his head slowly, unsure that he'd heard correctly.

"Garak...or perhaps I should say Elim. Did you say what I think you did?" Julian rubbed at his damp eyes, looking at the tailor with honest surprise. From somewhere Garak found a faint smile for his companion.

"Ah, I had forgotten you knew my given name. And yes, I did call you Julian. Do you mind?"

"Of course I don't. I'd almost given up hope of you ever calling me anything but "doctor". You were so adamant; why did you change your mind?" asked the younger man curiously.

"I'm not sure, but it seemed - appropriate somehow, Julian." Garak tried out the sound of it again, taking pleasure from the smile it brought to the doctor's face.

"Well, whatever your reasons, I'm glad - Elim. Better late than never, he added and instantly regretted his thoughtlessness. "Oh God, I'm sorry..."

"Hush, there's no harm done," said Garak softly, settling Julian back into his embrace. The doctor leaned across and kissed the tailor apologetically, a chastened expression on his face. His tone was serious when he spoke again.

"I think we should try and rest now, Elim. We've both been hurt and we need to conserve our strength. We have to be ready if any kind of chance to get out of here presents itself."

"And do you think that's likely, Julian?" asked Garak, unexpectedly deferring to the younger man. A look of determination etched itself on the doctor's features.

"I don't know, but they do say that you make your own luck. So, let's just be sure that any luck that comes our way from now on is good."

Julian dozed fitfully. At his side Garak too finally slept, the pain in his ribs dulled sufficiently by the painkillers Julian had given him to allow him to rest. The doctor wasn't sure how much time had passed when he came fully awake once more, as a shaft of sunlight fell across his closed eyelids. He blinked at the sudden, unexpected brightness, his eyes taking time to readjust. Carefully he slipped from Garak's lax embrace and, climbing to his feet, went in search of the source of the light.

The increased illumination allowed Julian to see his surroundings clearly for the first time. He and Garak were confined in a small, drab room. The door was at one end and fit tightly into its frame. It had no internal handle and offered no possibility of escape, as far as the doctor could see. The only furniture in the place was a narrow bench pushed against the far wall. The sunlight filtered into the room through a small aperture over one end of it.

Quickly Julian clambered onto the bench, reaching up to investigate the opening. Excitement began to mount in him as he realised that what he had discovered was a boarded up window, and that one of the planks covering it had come loose and slipped slightly, allowing the sunlight into the room. He began to tug at the boards and was finally rewarded when one of them pulled completely free, the wood giving way with a sharp crack.

"Julian?" The doctor turned at the sound of Garak's voice. He jumped down from the bench and crossed the room to kneel at the tailor's side.

"I think I may have found a way out of here, Elim," he said excitedly, a bright smile curving his full lips. "There's a boarded up window in the far wall of this room. Dukat's people probably didn't even notice it was there. I've managed to partially uncover it. Do you think you would be able to help me remove the rest of the planks? As far as I'm concerned the quicker we can get out of here the better."

"I shall be only too glad to help," said Garak with obvious relief colouring his voice. Leaning heavily on Julian he got slowly to his feet, wincing at the stab of pain from his damaged ribs.

"Are you sure you can manage?" asked Julian with concern.

"Right now a few cracked ribs are the least of my worries, believe me," Garak assured him. "Now, what would you like me to do?"

Between them the two men were soon able to uncover the entire window, but it was immediately apparent that it would prove less help to them than they had hoped. Julian glanced across at Garak, seeing his own disappointment and helpless frustration mirrored in the tailor's clear blue eyes.

"Julian, I'm sorry," said Garak quietly. "It simply isn't large enough to accomodate me." He surveyed the doctor appraisingly. "But unless I'm much mistaken I believe that you could get through it." Julian's eyes widened in shock as he realised exactly what Garak was suggesting.

"I can't leave you here," he protested.

"Of course you can, my foolish young friend; you have to," insisted Garak gently. "If you go now you can try to contact the authorities and get help. I don't see that we have any other choice."

"No, I can't do that." Julian shook his head firmly. "What if Dukat should return while I'm gone?"

"If he does, then so be it," replied Garak with a faint smile. "At least I'll know that you're safe."

"Elim...Do you realise what you're asking me to do?" Julian's anguish was clearly evident. He reached out, his hands catching hold of Garak's shoulders imploringly. With some difficulty the tailor held himself aloof, willing himself not to respond to the doctor's warm touch.

"Julian, if any more harm should come to you because of me, do you think that I would be able to forgive myself? You're an innocent party caught up in a situation not of your making." Garak's blue eyes regarded the doctor seriously. "You now have the chance to get out of here, an option that simply isn't open to me. You have to leave me behind, Julian. If we both stay here then Dukat will certainly take me back to Cardassia and execute me. But, if you go, you at least will be safe and you may be able to find help. That sounds the only sensible course of action to me."

"I know, Elim, but..." Julian tried again, but Garak silenced him with an emphatic shake of the head.

"No more arguments, Julian, you're just wasting time. Please... I don't want you to leave, but I have to let you go." Garak paused, taking a deep breath before he continued. "My dear Julian, don't make this any harder for me than it already is."

Julian dropped his hands from the tailor's arms. He knew Garak was right; at least if he left he had the chance to bring help. It didn't make him feel any better about abandoning Garak to an uncertain fate though. If Gul Dukat returned before he did he knew perfectly well that he was unlikely to see his friend again.

"Alright," he said at last, "I'll go, but I don't feel right about doing this." Impulsively Julian drew Garak to him, kissing him warmly. The tailor responded despite his best intentions and his arms came up to hug the doctor fiercely. For a long moment the two men embraced, oblivious to their surroundings, neither wanting to be the first to draw back. At last Garak pulled reluctantly away.

"Please go now, Julian," he begged. Or I'll never let you go, he added to himself. "I'll be fine," he finished out loud.

"I'll be back soon, Elim," said Julian over his shoulder as he forced the broken window open as far as it would go. He pulled himself up and wriggled through the narrow gap. It was a tight squeeze and he felt his shirt catch on the broken wood, but finally he manoeuvred himself through and tumbled to the ground outside. Hurriedly he sprang up, looking around for any indication that his unconventional exit had been noticed.

There was no sign of a guard, but Julian had no doubt that at least one of the Cardassian soldiers was somewhere close by. He could only hope that he wasn't paying any particular attention to his captives, wherever he was, not expecting them to find a means of escape. Cautiously Julian skirted round the outside of the building; it appeared to be part of an abandoned farm. In the distance he could see more buildings and he hoped that they would be occupied.

He took a deep breath, now was the moment of truth, and launched himself into a run. He headed straight for the distant signs of habitation, wanting to cover the intervening ground as fast as he could. To his immense relief there was no indication of pursuit and he allowed himself to relax slightly, concentrating only on running. All that mattered now was finding help - and getting back to Garak before Gul Dukat did.

At last Julian reached his objective, and to his delight he found that the buildings were indeed occupied. A young Risan man looked up in surprise at his approach, frowning as he took in the doctor's dishevelled state. Julian was panting hard from the unaccustomed exertion of running, but finally he found his voice.

"Please, I need your help. I'm a Starfleet officer, a doctor. I have to contact the Risan authorities. My friend is... Cardassians abducted us... I had to leave him, but he's in grave danger. Please..." Julian ran out of words, but his desparate anxiety, the pleading look in his eyes, seemed to convince the young Risan.

"I'll help you contact the authorities," he said, turning to enter the building. "Come inside, tell me what happened."

The next few hours passed in a blur for Julian as he repeated his story to more people than he cared to count. It seemed an interminably long time before he finally managed to convince the Risan security council that at least three armed Cardassians had actually managed to circumvent their weapons scans, and were moreover, almost certainly intending an unauthorised shuttle landing. By the time the council had got over their righteous indignation at this flagrant breach of their security, and agreed to send a detachment of guards to help free Garak and, hopefully, to detain the aforementioned Cardassians, Julian was about ready to scream from frustration.

Julian's unwitting host, a Risan farmer by the name of Tomas, did his best to calm his distraught guest, offering him a meal and the chance to clean himself up. The doctor had refused both, his frantic concern for Garak overriding every other consideration. It was all he could do to restrain himself from running straight back to where the tailor was confined, but he knew that if he were to be recaptured it would hardly help matters, and would probably only lead to reprisals. All he could sensibly do for now was wait for the Risan guards to arrive - and hope they wouldn't be too late.

Eventually the promised detachment of guards arrived, together with the Risan security chief Julian had dealt with earlier. The doctor rapidly found himself losing his temper as he was once again subjected to a barrage of questions, for which he had no answers, about Gul Dukat and how he had managed to bring illegal weapons onto Risa. Before he had the chance to say something he might regret, Julian was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of a shuttlecraft's thrusters. He raced for the door, the Risan on his heels.

"Dear God, it's the shuttle Dukat was waiting for!" Julian turned, his expression panicked. "We have to get back to Garak now." The security chief rapidly went up in the doctor's estimation as he had his men back in their ground transport vehicles and on their way across the fields towards the shuttle in a matter of minutes.

"I take it I'm not going to be able to persuade you to wait here, Doctor Bashir," he had said, not unkindly. Julian hadn't needed any further invitation, and had quickly clambered into one of the vehicles. Now he watched intently as they approached the grounded shuttle, his heart pounding in his chest.

As they drew closer still Julian could see several figures running from the shuttle in the direction of the building where Garak was still imprisoned. No doubt they were warning Dukat of the Risans' impending arrival. Bursts of disruptor fire flared briefly and Julian felt the ground transport vehicle swerve abruptly to avoid them. The Risan guards quickly responded to the attack, pinning the Cardassians down and soon rendering them ineffective by virtue of their greater numbers.

The moment his vehicle came to a stop Julian leapt out, heading for his erstwhile prison and ignoring the shouted warning of the security chief. The previously locked door now stood open and the doctor halted his headlong rush, approaching cautiously.

It was still gloomy inside the small room and it took Julian a moment to make out the two figures in front of him. As his eyes adjusted and he could see more clearly he pulled up short, uncertain how to proceed. Garak was slumped on the narrow bench, a look of pain etched onto his features. Gul Dukat stood over him, a disruptor held to the tailor's temple. A faint trace of amusement crossed Dukat's face as he registered the doctor's arrival.

"Well, well, Doctor Bashir, how pleasant to see you again," observed Dukat sardonically. "I'm sure Garak missed your company while you were gone."

"The Risan security forces are outside, Gul Dukat. Why don't you just let Garak go?" said Julian quietly, ignoring the pointed jibe.

"Now why should I want to do that?" queried Dukat, eyeridges raised in mock perplexity. "You don't seem to be in much of a position to bargain, doctor. I have a disruptor, whereas you, on the other hand, are unarmed."

"This charade is over, Dukat," said Julian, his voice suddenly sounding incredibly tired. "You're not going to be able to take Garak back to Cardassia now."

"Well, that's not essential, doctor. I'll admit it would have been - tidier, to have him formally tried, but given the circumstances I'm quite prepared to settle for killing him here and now," concluded Dukat calmly. Julian's eyes widened in horror, and he took an involuntary step towards the two Cardassians. Immediately Dukat swung the disruptor round to cover him.

"Doctor - Julian, please stay where you are," Garak called out hurriedly. "Don't even think about doing anything foolish."

"For once I'm disposed to agree with you, tailor." Dukat glanced briefly at Garak before returning his attention to Julian. "And doctor, it really would be most foolish of you to come any closer."

Julian hesitated for just a moment and then, squaring his shoulders determinedly, took another step towards Garak.

"I don't think you'll shoot me, Dukat," said Julian slowly. "I don't believe you want to cause any - misunderstandings with the Federation by making an unprovoked attack on a Starfleet officer, an unarmed Starfleet officer at that." Disconcertingly Dukat's disruptor remained pointed straight at the doctor's chest.

"It's a risk that might be worth taking after all," observed Dukat. "What do you think, Garak? Is Doctor Bashir's life a fitting payment for my father's disgrace and execution? Shall I let you live, tailor; should I send you back to your exile with the good doctor's death on your conscience?"

"Doctor Bashir has nothing to do with our - disagreement, Dukat," said Garak angrily. "Let him go. It was my death you sought. Isn't that enough for you?"

"Ah, but your demise would be so quick, so final. Now that I think about it, it seems to me that what you did to my father, your betrayal, demands something more than that." Dukat looked from Julian to Garak and back again. "I know your weakness now, tailor, and I don't think you would find it so easy to carry the guilt of the doctor's regrettable, and untimely, death."

"I'm not the one holding the disruptor," said Garak steadily.

"That's very easy to say, Garak." Dukat seemed amused by the tailor's words. "I'm not sure you'll really find it that simple to rationalise away the blame though." He smiled unpleasantly, enjoying Garak's evident discomfiture. "It's never easy - losing a loved one. Oh, and Doctor Bashir, please let me assure you there's nothing personal about this."

"Forgive me if I don't find that particularly comforting," muttered Julian with heavy sarcasm. He briefly considered making a run for safety, but abruptly realised what a futile effort that would be; Dukat could adjust his aim too quickly.

Julian's train of thought was interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching at a run. Without thinking he glanced in the direction of the noise and missed seeing Dukat's fingers tighten on the disruptor. Garak, however, saw the slight movement and reacted instinctively. Ignoring the protest from his injured ribs he hurled himself at Julian, knocking him to the ground and landing awkwardly on top of him. The disruptor beam passed harmlessly, scant inches above them.

Before Dukat could take a second shot at the two men the Risan security chief hurried into the room, several of his men hard on his heels. Their weapons rose to cover Dukat, and with an ironic grimace the Cardassian let his disruptor fall to the floor with a loud clatter.

"Well, Garak," he addressed the sprawled figure of the tailor, "it seems that the debt remains unsettled - for a while longer at least." With that Dukat allowed himself to be ushered from the building without a backward glance.

Two of the Risan guards hurried forward, carefully helping Garak to sit up. As soon as the tailor's weight was lifted from him Julian scrambled up, regarding his friend with concern.

"Garak needs proper medical treatment," said Julian, turning to the security chief. "He was already hurt, this is only going to have aggravated his condition. Please can you arrange for him to be taken to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible." The Risan nodded and quickly dispensed the necessary orders. As he did Julian turned back to Garak, catching his eye. In spite of his concern he managed a smile and leaning forward slightly he whispered to the tailor.

"Thank you, Elim," was all the doctor said aloud, but his expressive eyes conveyed his gratitude, and a wealth of deeper emotions, far more eloquently.

Julian and Garak slowly threaded their way through the bustling Risan marketplace, all but oblivious to the sights and sounds around them. They were finally heading back to their lodgings together, each deep in their own thoughts. The Cardassian had been pronounced fit by a competent Risan doctor after having his broken ribs repaired. He was still a little stiff and sore, but otherwise was quite his normal self, and had been only too glad to be released from the medical centre. By way of contrast, Julian had been unusually subdued since their rescue. Even the news that Gul Dukat had been unceremoniously placed on the first transport ship off of Risa and forbidden to return had done little to raise his spirits.

"Julian, I know you're upset about recent events, but it's over now. Dukat is gone and we're both quite safe and unharmed," said Garak at last, concerned at the doctor's continuing withdrawn silence. "Now we have another week or so here on Risa to relax and forget that anything untoward ever happened."

"How can you take this all so calmly, Elim?" Julian turned to regard his friend with disbelieving eyes. "Dukat threatened to have you killed; he fired a disruptor at me with every intention of killing me. If you hadn't pushed me out of the way we wouldn't be having this conversation now! Personally I find that rather unsettling, but you're behaving as if everything's been fine all along."

"On the contrary, my dear Julian, I am only too conscious of the fact that there might have been a very different outcome to this situation." Garak smiled slightly. "I simply prefer not to dwell on such unpleasant possibilities."

"I owe you my life, Elim..." Julian's voice trailed off and he looked away from the tailor, becoming suddenly absorbed in the wares displayed on the stalls they were passing.

"Well, I guess that makes us even then, doesn't it?" said Garak gently. "I haven't forgotten what you did for me - the implant, remember."

"Yes of course I remember, but it isn't..."

"No buts, Julian," insisted the tailor, "without your help then I wouldn't have survived, and it was a brave thing you did." Garak laid a hand lightly on the doctor's shoulder. "Today I was able to repay that debt." Julian stopped abruptly, heedless of the people around him and turned to meet the Cardassian's steady gaze, reading the warmth and affection in his blue eyes.

"You - you don't blame me for what happened here then." said Julian quietly.

"Of course not, why ever would you think that?" asked Garak in surprise.

"Dukat wanted to use me to hurt you. Our being here together gave him a hold of sorts over you. I could understand if you wanted to call a halt to our relationship after this," replied Julian.

"Oh, my dear Julian, what a foolish idea," exclaimed the tailor. "I value what we share a great deal and I don't intend to let Dukat's threats put a stop to it."

"You really mean that, don't you?" said Julian slowly, his eyes never leaving Garak's face.

"Yes, I do, and..." Garak leaned closer to Julian, lowering his voice conspiratorially, "I have every intention of proving it to you just as soon as we get back to our suite." His lips curved mischievously, drawing an answering smile - a very relieved one at that, and an anticipatory shiver from the doctor. The two men resumed walking, both now anxious to reach the sanctuary of their lodgings as soon as possible.

When they finally entered the suite Julian barely had time to close the door behind him before Garak, as good as his word, reached out to draw him into his arms. The doctor returned the hug enthusiastically. After a long moment the tailor released him, holding him at arms length and studying his face critically.

"So, there'll be no more self-recrimination now I trust," said Garak firmly.

"None at all," agreed Julian. "I'm just glad we're back here together - and in one piece." With infinite tenderness he cupped Garak's face in his hands, leaning forward to kiss him gently. The tailor's lips parted under his own and Garak's tongue slowly and tenderly began to explore the doctor's mouth. Julian let his eyes close, concentrating only on the gentle pressure of the tailor's lips and the delightful taste of him.

As Julian lightly caressed Garak's face, trailing his long, slender fingers over the the sensitive ridges and the smooth grey skin the Cardassian slid his hands up under the doctor's shirt. The warm touch roving over his body sent shivers running along Julian's spine. Garak felt the younger man begin to tremble and let his hands roam further, slipping into the waistband of Julian's trousers and reaching down to stroke the silky skin of his backside.

With an effort the doctor pulled himself free of Garak's embrace, his chest rising and falling in time with his rapid breathing. He ignored the tailor's look of frustration and surprise and quickly began to remove his clothes. As understanding dawned Garak did likewise and in moments Julian's warm, eager body was back in his arms, smooth, caramel skin pressed closely against leathery grey.

"That feels much better, Elim," murmured Julian with a contented sigh, "but please don't stop what you were doing before."

With a smile Garak resumed his gentle exploration of Julian's body. The doctor in his turn sought out the tailor's most sensitive places, caressing them with his lips and his agile fingers. Soon the warm glow of arousal began to suffuse both men, each feeling the other's growing firmness pressing against them.

Julian reached down, taking Garak's erection into his hand and stroking it firmly. The tailor moaned deep in his throat as his body began to react more strongly to the doctor's touch. He closed his eyes, revelling in Julian's caresses. His own hands moved over the younger man's backside. Gently he slid one finger, then a second inside him, eliciting a gasp of pleasure from the doctor.

"Oh God, Elim," whispered Julian, "please, I want you inside me." Garak didn't need to be asked twice, and pausing only to retrieve a jar of lubricant, he drew Julian to the bed and pushed him gently down onto it. The doctor settled himself onto his stomach and the tailor moved to kneel between his legs. Garak's hands were shaking as he carefully spread the cool, lubricating gel and Julian glanced over his shoulder, surprised at the tailor's apparent nervousness.

"I'm fine, Julian," said Garak in answer to the questioning look in the doctor's dark eyes. "It's simply that, at one point, I wasn't sure that we would have the chance to be together like this again. Now that we are I find myself feeling..." Unable to find the right words to convey precisely what he was feeling Garak gestured helplessly with his hands. Julian nodded slowly.

"I understand," he said simply and settled himself back amongst the pillows once more. A moment later he felt Garak's erect sex enter him, filling him with warmth. He sighed contentedly as the tailor began to thrust gently into him. His arousal swiftly intensified and he started to press back against Garak, taking him in more deeply, matching his thrusts to the tailor's. Julian felt his own sex begin to throb insistently, demanding attention and he slipped a hand down to grasp himself firmly. It was intensely pleasurable, toying with himself as Garak continued to push steadily into him.

Despite his best endeavours Garak was too keyed up to hold off his climax for long. Julian gasped as the tailor's fingers dug into him convulsively and he thrust hard once more and came, crying out inarticulately. The doctor felt Garak's violent trembling resonating through his body and began to stroke his own sex more insistently, soon feeling the dizzying sensation of his eagerly anticipated release overtake him. He gave himself up to the delightful experience, savouring every last moment of it.

Slowly Julian's breathing quietened and a delicious lassitude spread through him. He became aware of Garak's presence once more. The Cardassian was lying curled up at his side, watching him affectionately, a faint smile playing about his lips. Julian smiled back at him, reaching out to brush the tailor's cheek lightly with one hand.

"I don't know what I'd do without you, Elim," he said softly. Garak caught hold of the restless hand bringing it to his lips to kiss each of the slender, damp fingers in turn.

"Well I'm sure there would be plenty of others eager to take my place," observed Garak.

"Oh, maybe..." conceded Julian.

"But, as you don't have to do without me, don't dwell on what might have happened," admonished the tailor with mock severity.

"Don't worry, I won't," said Julian, a contented smile curving his lips as Garak's rough tongue toyed gently with his sensitive fingertips. "But I do know one thing, Elim," he continued.

"And what's that?" enquired Garak curiously, looking up into Julian's warm brown eyes.

"Whatever happens," replied Julian firmly, "we really ought to get away from it all like this more often."


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