Disclaimer - DS9 and its characters are copyright Viacom and Paramount Pictures and no infringement of said copyright is intended. This story is purely for the enjoyment of fellow fans. The story itself is copyright Karen Colohan December 1994. The cute picture is courtesy of BGM - thank you!

THE OPS CHRISTMAS PARTY Julian and Garak get into the Christmas spirit

The daily briefing was complete, but Benjamin Sisko did not dismiss his staff. Instead he turned to them with a smile and announced,

"As some of you may know, in two days time it will be Christmas. I feel it would be appropriate to do something to mark the occasion."

"Christmas?" queried Major Kira. "What's that?" Jadzia Dax turned to her and explained.

"Originally it was a human religious observance, but it became little more than an excuse to eat and drink too much and exchange gifts."

"Exactly," said Sisko, "and I suggest we have a Christmas party for the crew - a FANCY DRESS party!"

"Fancy dress?" Odo sounded puzzled.

"Yes, that's right," Julian Bashir hurried to explain, a smile crossing his face. "Everyone dresses up in a costume and pretends to be something they're not - like a space pirate or..."

"It sounds ridiculous, Doctor!" Odo interrupted abruptly.

"It's also compulsory for this party," said Sisko firmly. "Now, what else do we need? Ah yes, Chief, can you replicate a tree and some decorations?"

"Of course, sir, where do you want me to put them?" O'Brien enquired.

"Here, in the wardroom," replied Sisko, "this is where we'll hold the party. Oh, and some flashing lights or something to brighten up Ops as well, Chief."

"I'll get on it right away, sir."

"Good," Sisko nodded in acknowledgement. "What else? Ah, yes, food and drink. Dax, will you talk to Quark and get him to provide something suitable."

"Of course, Benjamin."

"And I will make a special punch," added Sisko. "It's one of my father's favourite recipes and guaranteed to make any party go with a bang!" He curled his fingers in a just so gesture and grinned at his officers. "Oh, and one final thing, presents. I want you all to make sure that there's a present for everyone under that Christmas tree."

"What sort of a present?" asked Kira doubtfully.

"Anything," said Sisko expansively, "use your imagination and I'm sure you'll come up with something appropriate,"

"Hmph, this is all such..." Odo began to grumble again, but Julian turned to Dax who sat beside him and added in a stage whisper

"I half expected him to say 'Bah, humbug' and be done with it!"

"Enough, people," said Sisko, drawing their attention back to him, "we have work to do! I shall expect to see everyone here the day after tomorrow at 2000 hours sharp. Dismissed!"

******

The next day was one of frantic preparation and as the arrangements progressed even the more sceptical members of DS9's staff had to admit to a certain anticipation.

Under Chief O'Brien's watchful eye the wardroom was slowly transformed. A large tree was set up and Keiko, with help from Molly, Jake and Nog, saw to the decorations. Strings of brightly coloured lights began to sprout in the most unlikely places and, when he thought no one was looking, Julian hung sprigs of mistletoe in both Ops and the wardroom.

The replicators in Quark's bar worked overtime as food for the party was prepared. And, true to his word, Sisko set about making a huge bowl of the punch to end all punches.

Down on the promenade Garak found himself doing an unexpectedly brisk trade. People who never normally crossed the threshold of his shop suddenly appeared with the strangest of requests. He heard the door open again and turned to find Julian waiting for him.

"Doctor, what a pleasant surprise," said Garak with a smile. "Now, perhaps, I might discover what is going on."

"Whatever do you mean, Garak?" Julian looked puzzled.

"Come now, doctor, I have had so many customers in the last few hours and all of them asking for the strangest outfits..."

"Ah, I see what you mean now," Julian interrupted him. "It's for Commander Sisko's Christmas party. You will be there won't you? Everyone has to be in fancy dress."

"Why, doctor, thank you for inviting me. I'd be quite delighted to attend. Fancy dress, you say. Well, that explains a great deal. Some of the requests I've had this morning would certainly qualify as that," admitted Garak. "So, doctor, what can I do for you in the way of - fancy dress?"

After a moment's hesitation Julian held out a PADD for Garak's inspection. The Cardassian took it and studied the display. The faintest smile twitched at the corner of his mouth.

"Oh, most appropriate, if I may say so, doctor. That really is very - you. Now, I'll just need to take a few measurements..."

******

Kira Nerys stood in front of a mirror in her quarters and appraised her reflection.

"Dax, you don't seriously expect me to wear this thing, do you?"

"Of course I do - it suits you. Besides, you told me you had no idea what to wear." Dax grinned as she joined the Bajoran in front of the mirror in the exact twin of the dress Kira was wearing.

"You realise Quark will..." began Kira.

"Quark will probably want to hire both of us on the spot!" laughed Dax. She ran her hands down the shimmering gold fabric of her dress, smoothing it. "Well, how do I look?"

"Fabulous, as usual," muttered Kira. "Look, this really isn't a good idea. I'll just change back into my uniform."

"Oh no you don't, Kira!" Dax wagged a finger at her admonishingly. "You look just fine and together we're going to knock 'em dead tonight!" She turned Kira and fussed briefly with her dress and then her hair. She stood back and admired the finished result. "Perfect!" She grabbed Kira's hand and pulled the still resisting Bajoran in the direction of the door.

"I cannot believe I'm doing this," muttered Kira under her breath. as she finally gave in to the inevitable. "If Quark so much as lays one finger on me tonight..."

"You'll be fine," said Dax soothingly as the door closed behind them. "Believe me, this station is never going to have seen two dabo girls like us before!"

******

Benjamin Sisko stood in the middle of the wardroom and admired the transformation wrought by his staff. The Christmas tree was fully decorated and blazed with lights and a satisfyingly large heap of presents lay around the base of it. Streamers and more lights wound round the walls and across the ceiling, brightening the drab Cardassian architecture.

On one side of the room a long table groaned under the weight of innumerable plates of festive food, which surrounded the piece de resistance - a huge Christmas cake. A second, smaller, table held Benjamin's punch bowl. Carefully he dipped himself a glass of the deep red liquid and took a sip. His eyes widened in appreciation as he swallowed and he looked appraisingly at the liquid remaining in his glass. He'd forgotten just how much of a kick this stuff had!

At that moment the door slid open and Quark appeared, closely followed by Odo. The Ferengi was dressed in a riotously coloured outfit, but Odo had stubbornly retained his habitual Bajoran uniform.

"Quark, Odo, it's so good of you to come," Sisko quickly moved into his role as host. "I have to say though, Constable, that I'm a little disappointed that you didn't choose to come in fancy dress."

"But I am in fancy dress," said Odo.

"No you're not. Those are your normal clothes," protested Sisko.

"Ah, but as I recall Doctor Bashir defined fancy dress as pretending to be something you're not," replied the shapeshifter.

"So?" Sisko looked puzzled.

"So," said Odo patiently, "I am pretending to be something I'm not. I'm pretending to be a Bajoran." There really was no arguing with the logic of the constable's statement, and Sisko didn't even try. Instead, he hurriedly changed the subject.

"Gentlemen, can I offer you both a drink?"

"Sure, why not," said Quark, "then perhaps we can discuss my catering rates for this delightful function."

"Quark..." Odo's voice rumbled ominously, "now is hardly the time to be haggling over your fee!"

"No, that's quite alright, constable," said Sisko smoothly. "Now, if I understood Dax correctly, Quark has most kindly offered this food as his Christmas gift to the personnel of DS9. That really is extraordinarily generous of you, Quark and I'm sure everyone will be most appreciative."

Quark, who had just taken a mouthful of punch from the glass given him by Sisko, all but choked on it.

"I what?!" he managed to get out at last

"A present, Quark, how thoughtful," said Odo a smile slowly crossing his smooth features. Quark looked from one to the other and realised he had no choice but to admit defeat.

"Yes, well, like I always say, there's no harm in building up goodwill amongst my patrons," he muttered.

"Ah, another of your rules of acquisition, is it?" said Odo. Quark was spared the task of finding a reply as the door opened again to reveal another group of guests.

First to enter the room was Dax with Kira close on her heels; the Bajoran looking like she was heading for her execution rather than a party. As the two visions in shimmering gold glided across the floor both Quark and Sisko stood and stared in open mouthed admiration. Odo looked curiously from the dumbstruck human and Ferengi to the approaching women and back again. As he did so he decided he was still a long way from understanding 'human' nature. As far as he could see Dax and Kira were attired in the same fashion as any of Quark's dabo girls. Yet, from the expressions on Sisko and Quark's faces it might have been reasonable to assume that they'd never seen outfits like them before.

Sisko was the first to recover his wits, or at least some semblance of them.

"Ladies, what a pleasure to see you. You both look quite - stunning!"

"Thank you, Benjamin," said Dax with a smile. "Perhaps you can convince Kira that she looks fine. She just won't listen to me."

"Oh, believe me, Major," interrupted Quark, "I can honestly say I have never seen you looking more lovely. Or you, Lieutenant..." he added smoothly. "Now, ladies, why don't you let me get you both some drinks while Commander Sisko greets the rest of his guests." As he spoke he carefully shepherded the two women off in the direction of the punchbowl, a lascivious gleam in his eyes.

With obvious regret Sisko turned back towards the other arrivals, Chief O'Brien and Keiko. As he did so Odo just caught his muttered comment, "Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous!"

The shapeshifter found he had to agree with the commander's sentiment; for DS9's chief of operations had chosen to dress as a ludicrously oversized baby. His light brown curls were topped with a blue bonnet tied under his chin with a large bow. His only other clothing was a crisp white nappy fastened at the front with a huge silver safety pin. In one hand he held a rattle and in the other a teething ring. He grinned broadly when he saw the expression on Sisko's face.

Keiko's attire was in total contrast to her husband's as she had chosen a traditional silk kimono in a deep greenish blue. But she seemed not the slightest put out by Miles' strange costume, or the other's reaction to it.

"Well, Chief, I'm pleased to see you've entered into the spirit of the thing," said Sisko at last.

"Thank you, sir," O'Brien grinned even more broadly. "As I see it, there's always somebody who makes a complete fool of themself at these occasions and I figured it might just as well be me as anyone else. Besides, it was Molly's suggestion. She thought it was great fun to see her Daddy dressed up like this!"

******

A little way down the corridor from the wardroom Julian Bashir stood watching the increasing number of people arriving for the party. He had promised to wait for Garak, and the Cardassian was late. The enforced delay gave the doctor a chance to study the outfits chosen by his crewmates

He had seen Sisko prowling around, making last minute preparations, resplendent in a purple and red baseball player's uniform. It would have been surprising if he had chosen any other costume.

A short while later, Julian had hardly been able to believe his eyes when he saw Dax and Kira arrive together in their matching golden gowns. It had taken a considerable effort on the doctor's part to remain where he was instead of rushing forward and offering to escort those visions of loveliness into the party. It was fully ten minutes since they had disappeared into the wardroom, but still he felt a pleasant tingle run through him each time he pictured those wonderful dresses and the tantalising delights they so barely concealed.

Julian did his best to put aside that line of thought and glanced down nervously at his own costume. It hadn't turned out the way he had expected at all and he had to fight the urge to turn tail back to his quarters and change into the reassuring familiarity of his uniform. Julian fully intended to take Garak to task about the number of modifications he had made to his specifications as soon as he arrived. However, he did have to concede that the overall effect was quite - impressive.

Once again Julian conjured up a mental picture of the reflection he had seen looking back at him from the mirror in his quarters. He started with the exquisitely tailored jacket of wine coloured leather, cut to enhance his broad shoulders and narrow waist. Underneath he wore a pure white silk shirt with a matching cravat which set off his warm brown skin to perfection. The finishing touch came in the shape of a pair of riding britches, which Garak had taken it upon himself to fashion from soft, supple white leather.

Julian's initial reaction had been to refuse to wear them, but he had to admit that they fit like a glove and felt wonderful. He glanced down again, noting once more how they emphasised his long, slim legs and hugged every curve and outline of his body. No wonder Garak had been so thorough with his measuring! Short, black leather boots and a riding crop completed the ensemble.

At that moment, as if the doctor's thought had summoned him, Garak appeared and hurried along the corridor to join Julian.

"My dear doctor, I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting. One of my customers required some last minute alterations to their costume..."

"Yes, Garak, you obviously specialise in alterations." Julian interrupted the Cardassian's explanation.

"Whatever do you mean, doctor?" Garak looked genuinely puzzled.

"I mean the costume I asked you to make for me," said Julian, with more than a little irritation evident in his voice.

"Is there something wrong with it?" asked Garak. "You should have told me, but as far as I can see it appears to be a perfect fit. Indeed, I was just about to compliment you on how well it suits you."

"No, Garak, there's nothing wrong with the fit!" The doctor was rapidly becoming exasperated with the Cardassian tailor. "I just don't recall asking you to make practically the entire outfit from leather!"

"You mean you don't like leather! Why, doctor, you really should have said something." Garak was effusively apologetic. "I am sorry. I really thought that you would like it. Please, forgive me if I made a mistake." Julian sighed deeply.

"Well, it's a little late to worry about it now, isn't it?" he said. He was about to launch into another tirade when he finally noticed what Garak himself was attired in. "Good God, Garak! What is that costume you're wearing?"

The doctor took another long look. The Cardassian had chosen to dress in leather as well - quite literally from head to foot. He was masked in black and his body was encased in the supple material, patterned with black and white diamonds. It fitted Garak like a second skin and left very little to the imagination. It suddenly occured to Julian that he was staring and, somewhat flustered, he dragged his gaze back to Garak's face. An amused smile tugged at the Cardassian's lips and Julian realised to his dismay that he was blushing.

"I thought you might recognise it, doctor," replied Garak equably. "It comes from Terran tradition after all. I believe the character is referred to as Harlequin. It rather suits me don't you think?"

"Oh, yes, it - it's very nice," Julian managed to stammer out. Feeling as if he were skating on thin ice he hurriedly changed the subject. "Um, don't you think we should go and join the party, Garak? We are rather late."

"Of course, doctor," Garak's smile broadened, "I'm sure this is going to be such fun."

******

The party was rapidly gaining momentum as more people arrived. Benjamin Sisko looked up from the plate he had been filling with food to see Doctor Bashir arriving with Garak. The young doctor had a particularly harried expression on his face Sisko noted as the pair made their way towards him.

"Doctor, I thought you'd changed your mind about coming," said Sisko with a smile.

"Ah, no, I was just delayed," replied Julian.

"It was my fault, commander," said Garak affably. "The good doctor most kindly offered to accompany me and I was late."

"Well, you're here now, Mr Garak," said Sisko smoothly, "so please help yourself to whatever you would like." He indicated the food and drink. "I didn't know that the Cardassians celebrated this time of year," he added.

"Oh we don't," replied Garak, "but I find your human customs most entertaining."

"I'm sure you do," Sisko smiled politely.

"Well, if you'll excuse me, commander, I feel I should circulate." Garak turned to Julian. "Doctor, I'll see you later." With that he headed off into the throng. Sisko noticed with surprise the obvious relief with which Julian watched him go.

"Is there a problem here I should know about, doctor?" he asked.

"Sir?"

"Between you and Garak," Sisko prompted.

"No, no problem, sir, nothing I can't handle," Julian replied a little too hurriedly. Sisko gave him a long hard look, but it was obvious that the doctor wasn't about to be any more forthcoming so he nodded in acknowledgement.

"Well then, I suggest you go and enjoy yourself, doctor."

"Thank you, sir." Julian beat a hasty retreat, heading for the table which held the punchbowl. He needed a drink!

A few minutes later, glass in hand, Julian began to relax. He looked around hoping to find Dax, but she was nowhere in sight. In one corner of the room he noticed Kira and Vedek Bareil. They appeared to be arguing. So, at least he wasn't the only person feeling out of sorts this evening.

Just as he was wondering what to do next a sudden burst of noise assailed his ears. Someone had instructed the computer to play some music. Before Julian knew what was happening he found himself pulled into a rapidly growing chain of people. Somebody had started a conga!

"I thought you looked a bit lost there, Julian," came a familiar voice from behind him. He glanced over his shoulder to see Chief O'Brien grinning irrepressibly at him from under his bonnet. In spite of himself Julian had to laugh. The chief of operations looked so ridiculous in his costume it was impossible not to.

"You know, chief, you're definitely the bonniest baby I've seen on the station all year!"

"That's very kind of you, sir!" O'Brien had to shout now to be heard over the music. "And you're looking very dashing yourself tonight if I may say so. I'm sure the ladies will be most impressed."

"I hope so, chief!" Julian found his spirits rising rapidly as the conga wound its way round the wardroom, picking up more people all the time, and then headed out into Ops.

Odo and Quark stood watching the line of people disappear. The shapeshifter shook his head slowly.

"Quark, do you have any idea what is supposed to be going on here?"

I'm afraid not, Odo. I'm just as puzzled as you are, but it appears to be some sort of - a dance," the Ferengi replied.

"That's right, gentlemen!" Benjamin Sisko walked across to join them, grinning broadly. "It's a conga! It's fun and everyone has to join in."

"I'd rather not, if you don't mind," said Odo. "I'd prefer to just watch."

"I do mind, constable. It's Christmas, and at Christmas everybody joins in the conga," Sisko chided his security chief.

"You're not joining in," pointed out Odo quite reasonably.

"Ah, but it's my job to round up stragglers," said Sisko with a grin, "and that means both of you!" At that moment the front of the conga wound back into view. "Go on, gentlemen!" He made shepherding motions with his hands. A gap obediently appeared in the line of people. Odo and Quark looked at one another, at Sisko and finally, in resignation, cast their respective gazes heavenwards. Hands reached out to draw them into the chain and off on another circuit of the room. Sisko folded his arms and watched them go, a beatific smile on his face.

******

Several hours into the party, Benjamin Sisko announced it was time for the distribution of the Christmas presents. The pile of gifts around the tree had grown to an impressive size and everyone found themselves with at least two or three. As a result the floor of the wardroom rapidly began to disappear under a sea of discarded paper.

Sisko himself now walked around sporting a baseball cap emblazoned with the word "Commander" - a gift from Jake. Someone, although no one was prepared to admit it was them, had presented Odo with a Santa Claus hat and white beard. The shapeshifter at first refused point blank to put them on until Kira archly suggested he would look cute in them. Odo still drew the line at the false beard, but he was wearing the hat.

In one corner, Chief O'Brien was now practising shots with his new racquetball racquet. Julian had handed this to him, straightfaced, together with a copy of "How To Improve Your Racquetball Game". Fortunately for the doctor, O'Brien appreciated the joke. The chief had wasted no time in getting his own back though, presenting Julian with a small bottle, the label of which proudly proclaimed "Guaranteed to make you irresistible to the opposite sex!"

"Quark assures me it works," O'Brien had noted with a grin as Julian gave in to a fit of helpless laughter.

******

Julian was still smiling to himself as he attacked a plate of food and watched from the sidelines as the party slowly but surely began to get out of hand - as is the way of things with such events. He nearly jumped out of his skin when a voice sounded close by his ear.

"Ah, doctor, there you are. I've been looking for you." It was Garak. "I had almost forgotten that it was the tradition to exchange gifts on these occasions. Here, this is for you." He held out a data clip.

"Garak, thank you, but there really was no need. I'm sorry, but I don't have anything for you." Julian set down his plate, took the data clip and studied it. He smiled again, his earlier irritation with the Cardassian now gone. "Besides, I thought you had given up on trying to educate me to like Cardassian literature."

"Oh, I know, doctor, but I believe this will be much more to your liking. Indeed, it has a parallel in Terran literature as I recall." Garak frowned as he searched his mind for the name of the book. "Ah, yes, I have it now. It's called the "Kama Sutra"!"

Julian flushed very nearly the same shade as his jacket and looked everywhere except at the Cardassian who stood before him with an amused expression on his face.

"That's - very kind of you, Garak." Julian managed to collect his wits enough to speak at last.

"I knew you'd like it," said Garak expansively. "I'm sure you'll enjoy broadening your horizons, doctor. And you really must tell me what you think of it once you've read it. An exchange of opinions can be so - stimulating, don't you think?" The Cardassian's expression was unreadable as he continued. "Now, if you'll excuse me I really must go and commend Commander Sisko for his excellent hospitality."

As he departed Garak laid one hand for the briefest of moments on Julian's shoulder. To the doctor it felt like an eternity. He stood, watching the Cardassian's retreating back; for once in his life completely speechless.

Some time later, Julian still stood forlornly in one corner of the wardroom, sipping at his seventh glass of punch - anything to avoid the risk of having to face Garak again! Around him the other revellers were now heading inexorably out of control, laughing, singing, dancing and becoming drunker by the moment.

If he were totally honest with himself, Julian was also now more than a little drunk. He had been half way through his fourth glass when Sisko had gently reminded him that the punch contained real alcohol, but Julian had decided *in for a penny...*.

He was so lost in his thoughts he didn't even notice that someone had walked over to join him, until she spoke.

"There you are, Julian, I wondered where you'd been hiding. Nice costume!" came Dax's mischievous voice. "Great legs too!"

"What? Oh, Jadzia, it's you!" *The first time I've had a chance to talk to you all night and I'm two thirds drunk* Julian added ruefully to himself. The obvious relief in Julian's voice and on his face surprised the Trill. The young doctor really didn't  look himself.

"What's the matter, Julian? You seemed a bit preoccupied," Dax asked with concern.

"He seems drunk," came another female voice from behind him - Kira's. "But I guess he's not the only one. Nice backside, by the way, doctor. You know how to keep yourself in shape."

Julian flushed again and looked back at Dax in mute appeal.

"Oh, don't mind her," said Dax with a smile. "She's had too much of Benjamin's punch as well. Now, tell me what's wrong. You look like you're at a wake, not a Christmas party!"

"It's Garak," admitted Julian. "Things seem to have got - a little out of hand." He retrieved the data clip from a pocket and showed it to Dax. "This was his present to me."

"What is it?" asked Dax. Julian hesitated, but finally took a deep breath and continued.

"He says it's the Cardassian equivalent of the "Kama Sutra". He suggested we 'discuss' it together once I've read it. Jadzia, Garak's been pursuing me and dropping none too subtle hints all evening!"

*So, now you know what it's like to be on the receiving end* thought Dax. Wisely she kept her thoughts to herself. Julian evidently wasn't handling this at all well. Privately, she was surprised that the doctor hadn't noticed the Cardassian's interest before. Then again, perhaps 300 years of experience did heighten one's awareness of such things, and there were times when Julian could be incredibly naive.

Meanwhile, Kira was looking blank. "The Kama what?" she asked, puzzled. Dax, who knew precisely what Julian was referring to, decided a little gentle teasing was exactly what the doctor ordered!

"A Cardassian sex manual! Well, Julian, you are full of surprises." Dax did her best to suppress the grin which threatened to spread across her face in answer to Julian's look of reproach. Kira's eyebrows shot up and she too had to struggle to keep a straight face.

"Well, I guess he thought you needed the practice, doctor," she said at last as Julian once again blushed furiously.

"It isn't funny, Major! How am I ever going to be able to face him after this?"

"You'll be fine, Julian," said Dax soothingly. "So, is it instructional, this book of Garak's?"

"What?" Julian looked positively scandalised. "I haven't had a chance to... I mean, I... Jadzia!!"

After a quick glance at Kira, who nodded her agreement, Dax took a firm grip of one of Julian's arms and the Bajoran took the other. Before he had a chance to protest they marched him out of the wardroom and off in the direction of Ops.

******

Ops was blessedly quiet after the frenetic atmosphere of the wardroom. Dax headed purposefully towards Sisko's office with Julian and Kira following in her wake.

"Jadzia, what are you doing?" Julian asked plaintively as she let them into the office and sealed the door behind them.

"I'm just trying to find a little peace and quiet and some privacy, Julian," she replied calmly. "Now, let me have that data clip please."

"Why?" Julian looked even more confused.

"Why d'you think? I want to take a look at it." Dax held out her hand. Julian decided he must be even more drunk than he thought he was. He could have sworn Dax had just asked to take a look at Garak's Cardassian sex manual!

"Jadzia, are you sure?"

"Of course she's sure, doctor," said Kira, abruptly plucking the data clip from Julian's suddenly nerveless fingers. The Bajoran handed the clip to Dax who proceeded to call up the file on the view screen on Sisko's desk. The two women bent over the screen and studied the images in silence for several minutes, ignoring the doctor totally.

Julian briefly considered leaving them to it and heading back to his quarters, but in his current inebriated state he rather doubted he'd make it that far unaided. Besides which, the view which currently presented itself to him on the other side of the desk was tantalising in the extreme!

In Julian's estimation neither Dax nor Kira had ever looked more lovely. Their matched dresses clung to their bodies most attractively, emphasising every curve and revealing more of their smooth, white skin than he had ever expected to see other than in a purely professional capacity. As he stood, contemplating the delights before him, Julian sighed wistfully. The sound, loud in the otherwise silent office, caused both women to look up.

Kira and Dax both found themselves suppressing laughter as they looked across at Julian. The doctor was dreamily oblivious of their regard, his dark brown eyes staring off into the distance and his face flushed. The unforgivingly tight white leather of his riding britches clearly indicated the direction taken by the spellbound Julian's thoughts.

Kira leaned across and whispered briefly to Dax before moving silently around the desk towards Julian. On reaching him she slid her arms up around his neck and proceeded to kiss him thoroughly. The preoccupied doctor responded eagerly, his eyes drifting shut and his arms locking around Kira's waist - until somewhere in his brain a warning bell sounded.

Julian's eyes snapped open and he realised abruptly exactly who he had just been treating to a particularly passionate kiss. His arms released their hold on Kira and he tried, unsuccessfully, to extricate himself from the Bajoran's embrace.

"Major, what...?" he began, shocked.

"Oh, don't stop now, doctor," purred Kira, "things are just starting to get interesting."

Julian looked over Kira's shoulder towards Dax in mute appeal. The indulgent expression on the Trill's face soon told him that no help was likely to be forthcoming from that quarter.

"Why don't you just relax and enjoy it, Julian," Kira continued. "You might even learn a few things. That book of Garak's really is most - educational."

"I beg your pardon!" This time Julian managed to evade Kira's grasp. He stood, eyes wide and breathing heavily and looked at the Bajoran as if she'd gone quite mad. He glanced across at Dax again. "Jadzia...?"

"Oh, Kira's right," said Dax brightly, "I definitely think you'd find this very instructional. Why don't you come and take a look."

Simply because it gave him the opportunity to put the desk between himself and the inexplicably predatory Kira, Julian complied. *Did someone spray me with some of that stuff O'Brien gave me without my knowing it?* he wondered to himself. As an afterthought he tugged distractedly at his jacket, trying to conceal his increasing arousal from Dax's critical gaze. She made no comment about his obvious discomfiture, but instead indicated the screen.

"What do you think, Julian?" she asked. As he looked at the images which illustrated the text on the view screen he rather thought he was about to die of embarrassment. Kira had closed in on him again and was also watching intently.

"Garak certainly has some entertaining notions," observed Kira. Julian was inclined to agree, for the figures he found himself watching all had very familiar faces. What appeared to be exceedingly accurate representations of himself, Garak, Kira and Dax were currently entwining themselves busily in illustration of a series of increasingly complex and intimate positions on the screen in front of him.

Julian hurriedly looked away and found himself meeting Dax's challenging gaze.

"Well...?" was all she said.

"Jadzia, are you suggesting...? Here? Now?" Julian was becoming increasingly flustered. *I'm drunk. Dax and Kira are too. This can't be happening* he thought helplessly. *Garak, you have a lot to answer for!*

"Of course she is, doctor," said Kira in a sultry voice, her gaze sweeping Julian critically from head to toe. "And unless I'm very much mistaken you really aren't at all averse to the idea either." Kira continued to stare at him intently and Julian's protest died on his lips as he realised it was quite pointless continuing to deny what was becoming more obvious by the minute.

Kira chose to interpret Julian's silence as acquiescence and advanced on him once more. He began to back away, but rapidly found he had nowhere to go as Dax had risen from her seat and was blocking his retreat. Before he knew what was happening two pairs of arms wrapped themselves around him, pulling him to the floor behind Sisko's desk.

******

Benjamin Sisko stood and watched the increasingly chaotic progress of the party. At least everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, but boy was there going to be some clearing up to do in the morning! He grinned as it occured to him that Doctor Bashir was probably going to have the busiest day of his life tomorrow handing out hangover cures!

Sisko looked around, trying to locate the doctor. He couldn't recall having seen him for some time. For that matter, several of his senior staff were notable by their absence. The commander was just about to go and look for his errant officers when Garak approached him.

"Commander Sisko, forgive my intrusion," he began, "but have you seen Doctor Bashir? There's a matter I must discuss with him and I can't find him anywhere."

"That's strange," observed Sisko. "I was just wondering where he'd got to myself. Tell me, Mr Garak, is there some problem between you and Doctor Bashir? I noticed he seemed a little - uncomfortable earlier."

"Well, commander, I fear I may have inadvertently caused some friction between the good doctor and myself," replied Garak. "That's why I was trying to find him; so that we can straighten things out."

"Hm, I guess we'd better see if we can track him down then," smiled Sisko. "And perhaps along the way we'll find out what's happened to Dax and Major Kira as well."

Sisko turned and began to thread his way through the melee in the direction of the door. Consequently he missed the speculative look which crossed the Cardassian's face.

"Well,well, well, doctor," murmured Garak under his breath, "it seems you appreciated my gift more than I thought." A predatory smile spread across his features as he turned and hurried after Sisko.

******

In Sisko's office, Julian was currently coming to the conclusion that whatever Garak's motivation had been in preparing the data clip and giving it to him the end result was far beyond his wildest expectations!

A small, rational part of Julian's mind persisted in telling him that he, Kira and Dax were all quite drunk - well, he certainly was - and would doubtless regret the whole episode in the cold light of day. Nevertheless, it was altogether too easy to ignore the promptings of common sense and Julian chose to do precisely that, concentrating instead on what was happening here and now.

What was happening was that Kira and Dax were busy kissing and caressing Julian to a state of near ecstasy. While Dax kept his mouth delightfully occupied, Kira set about divesting him of his clothing.

When another brief flicker of conscience led him to resist Kira's efforts she picked up the riding crop, which had fallen forgotten to the floor, and gave him a smart slap across the behind. Startled, Julian quit struggling! As the Bajoran revealed more of the doctor's smooth brown skin Dax left off kissing him and moved to help her.

The feel of two pairs of soft hands moving over his body was almost more than Julian could take. He closed his eyes and gave a sigh of pure pleasure. At the sound the two women looked at one another and smiled in anticipation. With one final tug Kira removed the last piece of Julian's clothing and tossed it carelessly across Sisko's office.

"Mmmm, not bad, doctor, not bad at all," she observed, surveying Julian critically. "What do you think, Dax?"

Julian's eyes opened and he found the women kneeling one on either side of him, studying his naked body with considerable interest.

"Oh, he shows definite promise, Kira," said Dax with a smile. "Now, where shall we begin?"

"I think we should take it from the top," said Kira.

Suiting actions to words the Bajoran leant forward and began to kiss Julian, starting with his face and slowly moving downwards. Dax quickly followed in her wake. The doctor gasped as delightful sensations began to flood through his body. He reached out and caught Dax in his arms, pulling her closer to him. His agile fingers soon found the fastenings of her dress and freed her from its constraints. He then repeated the process with Kira.

"I told you he showed promise," said Dax, laughing as Julian began to take a more active part in the proceedings. Kira found herself unable to reply as the doctor covered her mouth with his own and treated her to a kiss which left her whole body tingling. As he came up for air, Dax insinuated herself into his arms and gave him a taste of his own medicine. Julian closed his eyes and let himself drift on a tide of sheer pleasure.

Momentarily at a loose end, Kira glanced around and caught sight of the still active view screen on Sisko's desk. The four facsimiles were still going through their paces and Kira watched with interest. A sudden thought occured to the Bajoran and she reached up, hitting the pause button.

"Hey, you two, come and take a look at this," she called. A moment later three disembodied heads peered over the edge of the desk at the screen. They studied the frozen image and then looked at one another appraisingly. Julian was the first to move. Grinning broadly he reached out, drawing first Dax and then Kira back out of sight behind the desk.

At first there was silence and then muffled giggles and squeals of delight as the three set about emulating their counterparts on the screen.

******

Garak exited the wardroom in time to see Sisko heading for the promenade and presumably the infirmary, obviously having decided that Doctor Bashir had been called away on medical matters. The Cardassian, however, was still quite sure that there was an alternative explanation for the absence of the doctor, Kira and Dax.

He stood considering for a moment and then an impulse sent him in the direction of Ops. Had anyone else been watching Garak at that moment they would have seen an uncharacteristic expression of anticipation - and something more cross his face.

When he entered Ops Garak thought for a moment that his instinct had been wrong, but then the faintest of sounds reached his ears. The noise came from Commander Sisko's office. A broad smile informed the Cardassian's features as he made his way up the steps to the darkened office.

Someone had set a security seal on the door's locking mechanism, but Garak circumvented it easily. The door swooshed open and he stepped inside, resealing it behind him. He stood and listened intently. There was total silence now, but a quick glance around the office revealed in one corner the betraying presence of a discarded pair of white leather riding britches! Garak smiled again, licking his lips in pleasant anticipation.

"Doctor," he called softly, "I know you're in here and I really feel we have a few things to discuss, don't you?" For a moment the silence held, then plaintively Julian's voice floated out to Garak from behind the concealing bulk of the desk.

"Garak, this really isn't a good time right now. I'm a little tied up at the moment."

The Cardassian couldn't resist any longer and he walked quickly across the room. As he rounded the desk a tantalising sight greeted his eyes. The doctor, Kira and Dax were all quite naked and at a quick glance it was all but impossible to tell which limbs belonged to whom. As Garak surveyed them more closely it rapidly became apparent to him that the three were in something of a bind.

Julian's eyes met Garak's with a mixture of embarrassment and appeal. The Cardassian moved closer, looking down on the trio with unconcealed amusement.

"Doctor, I never realised you'd be so eager to attempt this. You really should have let me know first. These are very advanced techniques and of course, Cardassians are somewhat stronger than humans... Still, I would have been only too willing to instruct you further."

"I'm sure you would, Garak! Now, will you just get us out of this mess!" Julian sounded on the edge of hysteria. "This is all your fault!"

"Oh my dear doctor, such impatience, but perhaps I should go and find Commander Sisko first. I may need some help and he has been most concerned by your absence, you know." Garak turned and made as if to leave.

"Garak, you wouldn't," Julian sounded horrified and the looks on Dax and Kira's faces were equally eloquent.

"Well, I suppose I could manage this alone..." Garak moved back and knelt beside the entangled trio. He looked them over slowly, but made no attempt to do anything further.

"Garak, if you don't get us out of this soon I promise you, I will..." Kira's temper was beginning to fray under the admittedly trying circumstances.

"She really doesn't mean it, Garak," Julian hurriedly cut off the Bajoran before she pushed Garak into making good his threat to fetch Sisko. "Please, Garak, will you help us." Julian treated the Cardassian to the most wide eyed look of appeal he was capable of.

"Oh, very well, doctor," Garak gave a long suffering sigh, but his eyes were alight with a predatory anticipation. He reached out and began to untangle the living puzzle in front of him. The intensity of that look wasn't lost on the helpless doctor. Nor was the way in which Garak's nimble hands seemed to find it necessary to brush against every inch of Julian's skin as he worked to release the trio.

First Kira rolled free, bounding to her feet and stretching to relieve her cramped muscles. A moment later Garak stood, pulling Julian up with him. This finally freed Dax who had been trapped beneath the doctor. Kira reached out a hand and helped the Trill to stand as well. There was a long moment of silence as the four looked at one another.

"Thank you, Garak," Julian managed at last, carefully extricating his hand from Garak's firm grip. He winced slightly as the movement sent a spasm of pain through his overstressed muscles.

"Oh, the pleasure was entirely mine, doctor," smiled Garak. "Or maybe not entirely..." He glanced down at the doctor who blushed furiously as he realised there was some truth at least in Garak's statement.

"I think you two have a few things to discuss," said Dax, patting Julian lightly on the shoulder. "privately," she added pointedly for Kira's benefit. The Bajoran was not always the most tactful of people.

"What? Oh! Yes, I quite agree," said Kira with a grin as she finally caught Dax's drift.

Julian watched helplessly as Dax and Kira quickly dressed and beat a strategic retreat. His heart was beating so loudly he felt sure the Cardassian must be able to hear it from where he stood.

"Well, doctor, was the lieutenant right? Do we have things to discuss?" asked Garak. His eyes meeting Julian's held a definite challenge.

Julian opened his mouth fully intending to tell Garak that he had nothing whatsoever to say to him. He was, therefore, understandably surprised when something quite different came out.

"Why don't we go to my quarters and find out?" he said simply, much to the Cardassian's delight.

"What an excellent idea, doctor," Garak replied. He reached over and retrieved the data clip from the desk viewer. Then from somewhere he produced two combadges, handing one to a startled Julian and fastening the other to his own Harlequin costume. "I suggest, given your current state, that it would be better to use the transporter. I personally find the sight of you naked most appealing, but some of your crewmates might be a little shocked."

Before Julian had the chance to say anything or the opportunity to retrieve his clothing Garak instructed "Computer, two to beam directly to Doctor Bashir's quarters."

Just as the two shimmered into nothingness Sisko entered Ops. He had finally located Dax and Kira as he returned from a fruitless journey to the infirmary. Both had looked somewhat dishevelled and they had been positively reticent about where they had been for the past hour or so. Sisko sighed and headed for his office. He still hadn't found Julian and now Garak had vanished as well. It was turning into one hell of a night!

The minute Sisko walked into his office he knew something wasn't right. His chair was pushed away from the desk to one side instead of being tucked underneath it neatly as he always left it. The commander frowned. Someone had been in here, but who?

Sisko looked around and then noticed something in one corner of the room. He walked over and bent down to investigate. On closer inspection the bundle turned out to be a heap of discarded clothing - leather clothing. To be precise a wine coloured jacket, white leather... The commander's eyes widened as he realised who he had last seen dressed in these garments. They widened even further as he recalled that Dax and Kira had been heading away from Ops when he had encountered them. No wonder they had been so unforthcoming about what they'd been doing!

That still didn't explain where the doctor was now, or why he'd left his clothing behind though. Unless he still hadn't anticipated needing it. But who was he with? Sisko was frankly curious. Dax and Kira were now both accounted for, so who else...

Suddenly the pieces fell into place in Sisko's mind. Who else had been so anxious to locate the doctor and was now equally conspicuous by his absence? The commander grinned. *Well, well, well, doctor, you are full of surprises tonight!* Sisko straightened up and then addressed the empty air.

"Merry Christmas, doctor...and you too, Mr Garak!"

THE END!

Return to Yavanna's Realm archive