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 November 1996.

TROUBADOUR

The tailor's establishment was empty not just of customers, but also of its proprietor when Julian Bashir stepped inside. It was lunchtime and the doctor had come to invite his lover to share a bite to eat with him in the Replimat. Julian strolled across the shop, slipping behind the counter. Perhaps Garak was in the workroom putting the finishing touches to some new creation.

As Julian pulled aside the curtains leading to the fitting rooms and work area something made him pause. After a brief moment the doctor realised it was the sound of a lone, unaccompanied voice drifting from the back of the shop. That was unusual. Garak didn't normally have music playing as he worked. The song had a haunting, alien quality to it and Julian tried to focus on the words. It was only then that it came to him that he couldn't understand the language of the piece. Was there something wrong with the universal translator?

By now intensely curious Julian advanced into the tailor's workroom. Garak was bent over an intricate gown, working with such concentration that he did not at first register the doctor's arrival. In its turn this gave Julian time to realise that the music he had heard was not a recording. Garak's lips were moving and he was singing softly as he worked.

Julian's double take and Garak's sudden realisation that he was being watched - and listened to - occurred almost simultaneously. The tailor looked up, a deep flush staining his cheeks, to meet the doctor's stare of wide-eyed incredulity.

"Julian!" exclaimed Garak, his tone a mixture of pique and outright embarrassment. "By the darkest hells!" Quickly the tailor looked down to be sure he had done no damage to the material he had been working on. Finding it unharmed he quickly set it aside.

"Garak, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," Julian apologised hurriedly.

"Well if that was so you might have announced yourself before you came in," muttered the tailor reproachfully.

"I thought we'd got a little beyond that point in our relationship now," returned the human with a frown. It seemed they were going to have to discuss the not so small matter of trust yet again. "Anyway, why are you so embarrassed and defensive just because I heard you singing?"

"My voice really isn't something I would wish to inflict on an unsuspecting public," growled Garak darkly. Julian snorted derisively.

"I'm hardly the public," he observed pedantically. "Besides, don't you think you're overstating the case just a little here, Garak? I thought your voice sounded lovely." The Cardassian threw a faintly disgusted look in the doctor's direction. It plainly implied that at the very least Julian didn't have any idea what he was talking about and that more than likely he was quite mad!

"Oh, don't look like that, Garak," insisted Julian. "Honestly I was enjoying it. I wish you hadn't stopped. The song was beautiful. I did notice the universal translator seemed to be having some trouble with it though. Was that Cardassian you were singing in?"

"Yes, but a somewhat obscure and archaic dialect," admitted the tailor.

"Oh, so is it a traditional Cardassian song then?" asked Julian, by now intensely curious. While he and Garak had often talked about literature their discussions rarely seemed to have encompassed music. Based on what he had heard so far the doctor was inclined to think the music might be more to his taste than most of the novels had been!

"Well, it's certainly old," agreed Garak. "It's held to be a classic by some, but for many years the words were considered highly subversive by those in power."

"Oh?"

"In the past those who opposed the government of the day were known to write songs which, when taken at face value, appeared innocent enough. However, if one knew how to read between the lines there were - other messages to be found."

"Hm, that sounds like the sort of thing which would appeal to a certain Cardassian of my acquaintance." Julian grinned at his companion who inclined his head in acknowledgement of the jibe. "Actually, it's a bit like the wandering minstrels of Earth tradition. They travelled the land singing for their keep in the villages and towns they passed through and they would write songs which told the important news of the day. That was before there were any reliable means of communication of course"

"What fascinating similarities between our cultures," said Garak thoughtfully.

"Mm, I suppose so. You know I wish you would sing for me sometime," murmured Julian wistfully. His cheeks reddened slightly as the tailor glared at him sceptically.

"I had no idea you harboured masochistic tendencies, Julian," scoffed Garak. "Why would you wish to have my poor voice inflicted on you?"

"You are impossible," sighed Julian exasperatedly. "For the last time, your voice is just fine. I like it. For another thing it would be - romantic and I for one would welcome a little romance in our relationship. Damn it, I'm not asking for hearts and flowers, but to be blunt the Cardassian approach does seem to be rather - no frills as it were."

"And my singing to you would qualify as - a frill?" enquired Garak doubtfully.

"If you like, yes! Don't you remember any of those historical romances I made you read as retribution for that terrible, supposedly epic love story you made me wade through?" asked Julian. The tailor grimaced at the memory. "Well, you know how the lovestruck young man would serenade his lady love outside her window at night. That was considered a frightfully romantic thing to do."

"Julian, here on DS9 that particular course of action would not be romantic. It would be extremely fatal," observed Garak dryly. Julian shook his head in despair.

"I give up!" he exclaimed. "Do you have to be so damned literal? Anyway, before we argue away my entire lunch hour I actually came to see if you were ready to eat."

"Of course, just give me a moment to tidy up here." Garak smiled at his young lover and all at once an idea sprang to being in his mind. It would require a certain amount of work, but the results might just be worth it. The smile broadened and the Cardassian began to make his plans as he followed Julian to the Replimat.


Several days later, by which time Julian had quite forgotten the discussion in Garak's shop, the doctor found a message on his terminal in the Infirmary. It was from the tailor, who requested the pleasure of Julian's company in holosuite three that evening at 1930 hours. The note went on to suggest that something other than his Starfleet uniform would be appropriate attire for the occasion. The doctor smiled in pleased anticipation. He and Garak had shared several interesting evenings in the holosuites since they had become lovers. Julian wondered what program the Cardassian had in mind for them this time.

When the appointed hour finally arrived Julian presented himself outside the holosuite. He was dressed in a white silk shirt that Garak was especially fond of - he had complimented it for the way it brought out the golden colour of the doctor's skin - and a pair of black trousers which had been lovingly fitted and tailored by the Cardassian. The memories of that particular fitting always brought a smile to Julian's face! The young man's heart was already beating a little faster with anticipation as the holosuite door opened to his touch.

Julian stepped inside. It was dark and at first he could see very little, but gradually his eyes began to grow accustomed to the gloom. The doctor realised that the program that was running presented a night time setting, but that was about all he could manage to make out. Julian advanced a little further into the holosuite and the light suddenly brightened as above him a full moon broke free of the clouds which had previously shrouded it. The doctor looked about him curiously, wondering where Garak was. As if the thought had summoned him the tailor suddenly stepped out of the shadows in front of Julian.

"Good evening, Julian, thank you for being so prompt," said Garak. He bowed low and pretended to ignore the look of startlement which had appeared on the doctor's face as he got his first look at his companion.

"Garak?" murmured Julian weakly. He could only stare at the tailor, dumbfounded. Garak was adorned in full mediaeval troubadour's costume. He wore a short, close fitting doublet of heavy, midnight blue brocaded velvet. Under this was a paler blue shirt cut to reveal the tailor's neck ridges and with wide, trailing sleeves. The lower part of his body was encased in tight blue hose which clung to the Cardassian's muscular thighs and buttocks. As pure astonishment compelled Julian to take a second look he noticed that Garak had even incorporated a heavily embroidered codpiece. The doctor could barely tear his eyes away to complete his visual survey! To provide the finishing touch to the whole ensemble the tailor held a perfectly replicated lute.

Garak stood quite still, allowing the doctor to look his fill. He watched the conflicting emotions which crossed the young man's face. What began as surprise quickly segued into lust as Julian's eyes settled again on the snug fitting hose. The Cardassian smiled - if the doctor kept that up they would very soon become tighter still - at any rate his reaction seemed to bode well for later!

"So, Julian," said Garak at last, "you expressed the wish that I should serenade you. Was this what you had in mind? It took a considerable amount of research I might point out to come up with an appropriate outfit for the purpose."

"The - costume is amazing," replied Julian with complete honesty. "But... you did all this for me? Just because I wanted you to sing for me?"

"Yes," admitted Garak a trifle uncertainly. "You do like it, don't you? You did imply before that you would find this sort of thing - romantic."

"Garak, of course I like it," exclaimed Julian, much to the tailor's relief. He forbore from adding that after the sight of the Cardassian in his troubadour's outfit anything else was likely to be something of an anti-climax. Garak had made such an effort to set the scene for his serenade! "I'm just having a hard time taking this all in. But I think it's incredibly romantic - that you would go to all this trouble for me. Thank you." The doctor flashed a grin at his lover. "We'll put some romance into that Cardassian soul of yours yet! So, are you going to sing now?"

"If you would care to go up to the balcony first," said Garak, pointing to a structure off to one side of the holosuite. Julian's eyes widened still further as he took in the wide stone balcony, wreathed with ivy which the Cardassian had created. It was reached by a precarious looking spiral staircase which the doctor climbed cautiously. He had to admit that when Garak set his mind to do something he certainly did it thoroughly!

"Well, I can't say I'd ever quite pictured myself as Juliet," observed Julian wryly as he rested his hands on the balcony's ornate balustrade and peered over the edge. He glanced at the stocky figure of the Cardassian waiting below - and Garak was hardly a textbook Romeo either!

"Juliet?" enquired Garak quizzically, looking up at him.

"As in "Romeo and Juliet" - it's another play by Shakespeare," explained Julian. The tailor immediately threw him a disparaging look. "Yes, I know you didn't think much of "Julius Caesar", but this one is about two lovers whose families are feuding so... Oh, never mind! Just remind me to lend you the play sometime. Actually, maybe it's not such a good analogy - it does after all have a tragic ending when..."

"Julian!" growled Garak in irritation. He eyed the doctor darkly. Was he ever going to stop talking long enough to let him get the humiliating business of actually singing over and done with?

"Oh, sorry," muttered Julian apologetically. "I'm listening."

The tailor cleared his throat self-consciously and began his song. It was another Cardassian piece, but one that Garak had not sung in many years. It brought back mixed memories for the tailor. It had been a special favourite of Mila's. He had often sung it for her when Tain had been away. If the Obsidian Order leader had known that his most trusted aide had a talent for singing oh how he would have laughed - and so it had been Garak and Mila's little secret.

Julian listened, transfixed. Garak had a fine voice - rich and deep. This time the universal translator was up to the task of translating the words for him. It wasn't precisely a love song - in common with most Cardassian artistic endeavours Julian had come across that emotion was reserved for Cardassia itself. But for all that it could be taken as an expression of Garak's feelings for his human lover and the doctor chose to interpret it that way. When the song finished, the last notes dying away into silence, Julian voiced a soft request.

"Computer, provide a single red rose, no thorns." As soon as the bloom materialised Julian tossed it down to land at Garak's feet. The tailor stooped to retrieve it and looked up at the smiling young man, bowing his head in acknowledgement of the accolade.

"So, Julian, what would you have your minstrel do now?" asked Garak. He rather hoped he already knew the answer to that question. He had after all made appropriate provision in anticipation of the doctor's response.

"Oh, I think I'd rather like him to come up and join me on my balcony..." replied Julian archly. He spared a quick glance over his shoulder to the room beyond the window at his back. How thoughtful - the program had been designed to provide a cosy bedroom with a large four poster bed. Apparently Garak had decided in advance the reward he wanted for his singing! "I believe I'd like to show my appreciation for such a delightful song more - personally," the doctor added with an anticipatory smile.

As Julian turned back to face the balcony he discovered Garak had wasted no time in honouring his request. At the doctor's first words the Cardassian had discarded the lute and clambered up the spiral staircase with commendable speed. Garak was already at Julian's side and quickly he swept the young man into his arms. The wide sleeves of the tailor's shirt enveloped the doctor like a cloak as he was pulled into a tight embrace.

"Do you like the program then?" asked Garak breathlessly.

"Oh yes," agreed Julian. "Though I think I like your outfit even more..." There was an appreciative gleam in his hazel eyes as the doctor slid a hand between their close-pressed bodies to cup the bulge so delightfully outlined by Garak's skin-tight hose. The Cardassian gave a small gasp. At once Julian's other hand snaked around to tease the tailor's muscular buttocks through the thin material. The gasp quickly became a deep-throated moan!

"Ah," purred Julian seductively, "your singing was quite superb, but that really is music to my ears..."

He got no further before Garak's mouth descended to cover his own. The tailor's lips devoured the young man's and his tongue invaded the depths of Julian's mouth possessively. As kisses went it was both thorough and highly satisfactory. Even as he continued nibbling at the doctor's tongue and snatching kisses from his soft lips Garak began, with steady pressure from his body, to urge Julian backwards. The doctor did not resist as he was gently, but inexorably encouraged away from the balcony and into the room. It took only a few steps to reach the wide, inviting bed. Human and Cardassian tumbled down onto it eagerly, singing now the last thing on either of their minds.

Garak rolled until he was on top of Julian, pinning the slighter man against the soft mattress. The doctor made no objection to that state of affairs, loving the weight of the solid Cardassian body atop him and the feeling of the tailor's hard sex pressing into his thigh. Garak's controlled aggression enthralled and excited Julian. It offered a hint of danger, an added spice to their lovemaking, that the doctor had never experienced with any of his human lovers. He looked up at the tailor's powerful form straddling his body. Garak's brilliant blue eyes stared back, devouring his sprawled form hungrily.

Reaching down the tailor tugged Julian's white silk shirt free of the waistband of his trousers. His strong, grey hands wandered up underneath the soft material. Garak let his fingers roam over the smooth, human chest, tracing the line of the ribs and the outline of the suddenly tensed muscles. The Cardassian knew from that tension that Julian was anticipating his next move so he made him wait, drawing lazy circles with one fingertip across the young man's abdomen. As the doctor relaxed Garak quickly reached up again, pinching the sensitive nipples between thumb and forefinger. The small nubs of flesh hardened, becoming erect as the tailor continued to stimulate them.

Julian whimpered softly, sensations of pleasure and pain mingling as Garak carefully increased the pressure on his nipples. The doctor reached up, running his hands over the tailor's back, encouraging him. The heavy velvet of Garak's doublet felt delightful against Julian's palms, but more than anything he wanted to feel the leathery smoothness of the Cardassian's skin.

As the doctor increased the pressure of his hands against Garak's back the tailor leant forward. Without warning he lowered his head and began to suck lightly at Julian's left nipple through the silky material of his shirt. All the while his fingers continued toying with the sensitised flesh of the other nipple. The doctor gave a startled gasp at the new sensations assaulting him. Garak's mouth was warm and wet against his chest and he alternated between suckling at the erect nipple and biting it gently.

Julian felt his own arousal increasing and he frantically reached out, cupping his hands around Garak's powerful backside. He pulled the tailor's hips down as he thrust his own up forcefully from the bed. Both men moaned as their erections pressed together, the sensations intense in spite of the layers of material still separating them. Julian's hands moved restlessly, trying to find the fastenings of Garak's doublet. As the human struggled with the unfamiliar clothing the tailor impatiently brushed his seeking fingers aside to speed up the process.

To his chagrin the trailing sleeves of Garak's shirt became tangled in the doublet as he attempted to pull it off. He growled several colourful Cardassian curses as he tried to free himself of the enveloping material. Despite his temporarily thwarted passion Julian could see the funny side of the situation. Laughing he pushed himself upright and helped Garak untangle himself from the mess of blue fabric. The tailor winced as he heard seams ripping, but lust soon won out over professional pride as he felt Julian's hands stroking over the bare skin of his chest and back.

With another growl Garak reached out and tugged Julian's shirt off over his head. The young man's hands were now at the Cardassian's waist, working on the fastenings of his hose. The doctor's long fingers trailing over the embroidered surface of the codpiece only served to make Garak's erection swell further - and the fit of his hose tighter. The tailor rolled away from Julian in frustration, finally peeling the confining fabric from his lower body. Garak lay on his back, naked, breathing hard. As soon as the Cardassian had moved away from him the doctor had wasted no time in stripping himself of his own trousers and briefs. Julian stared at Garak's erection speculatively. He wanted to feel it inside him - now!

Noticing the hungry look in the human's hazel eyes Garak directed Julian to a nearby table where he had left a vial of lubricant. The doctor retrieved it and clambered back onto the bed, kneeling at Garak's side. He poured some of the oil into his palms and began to smooth it over the hard, textured length of the Cardassian's erection. Garak's eyes narrowed to mere slits of sparkling sapphire at Julian's expert touch. The young man watched the tailor thoughtfully. Carefully, never stopping the gentle movement of his hand spreading more oil Julian set aside the vial. Garak's eyes closed completely.

With a pleased smile the doctor quickly straddled the Cardassian's supine form. Before Garak had time to protest Julian was lowering himself with careful deliberation onto the tailor's waiting erection. The oil eased the joining and with minimal effort Julian took Garak's entire length inside him. The doctor leaned forward, bracing himself with his hands on either side of the tailor's body. The clear, blue eyes looking up at him reflected a mixture of startlement and pleasure. Good, he had managed to surprise the Cardassian.

Slowly Julian raised himself up again, allowing Garak's erection to nearly slip out of his body. Then he thrust his hips down quickly, impaling himself fully on the tailor's hardness once more. Sighs of delight escaped both throats as the doctor repeated the movement, faster and harder. Julian rode Garak skilfully, enjoying the opportunity to control their encounter, but the Cardassian did not simply accept what was being done to him passively. With firm strokes he began to thrust up into Julian, finding the spot deep inside the human that caused him to cry out in even greater pleasure.

Pleased by the response Garak reached out a hand, curving it around the length of Julian's smooth erection. Steadily he stroked it, drawing an ever more vocal response from the young man. But Garak was closer to the edge and only moments later he came, thrusting up hard into Julian as the doctor's muscles clenched about him, drawing his pleasure from him. Garak's hands tightened reflexively on Julian's sex and the human also cried out, splashing his seed onto the tailor's broad, grey chest.

Panting hard Julian slumped forward across the Cardassian's body. He could feel Garak's lax sex still nestled against his buttocks. It was a comforting sensation and he sighed contentedly. Slowly Garak's arms came up to encircle the doctor's sprawled body. Carefully he shifted the young man off him, pulling Julian against his side instead. The tailor brushed his lips briefly against the doctor's before he spoke.

"Ah, Julian, if I had known that making - romantic gestures would win me such passion I would have begun to make them earlier," he teased. "You must tell me what else you find romantic so that I can best please you."

"Well, singing was certainly a good beginning," agreed Julian. "Perhaps next time you could dance?" he added mock-seriously. Propping himself up on one elbow Garak regarded the young man disparagingly.

"I believe my desire to please you does have its limits." The tailor's expression turned thoughtful. "But it occurs to me to wonder what hidden talents you might have." Julian smiled up at Garak enigmatically.

"Oh, now wouldn't you love to know, my friend," said Julian mysteriously. "I'm not going to just tell you though. You'll have to find out for yourself." The doctor's dark, expressive eyes suggested various ways the Cardassian might care to try and divine his hinted at talents.

"But, Julian, I'm very good at finding out people's secrets," warned Garak. "Aren't you afraid it will be too easy for me?"

"No, I don't think so, Garak. I'll make it as hard for you as I can..." Julian's eyelids lowered coyly and he slid a hand down to the tailor's groin. With a deft touch he indicated exactly what he hoped to make hard for his lover. "So you'll just have to do your worst."

With a predatory smile Garak rolled Julian over onto his back, quickly moving to cover the slender form with his own, heavier body. The Cardassian's blue eyes glittered with a combination of pride and reawakening lust as he contemplated the enticing prospect of discovering the doctor's secrets.

"Oh no, with you it will always be my best..." insisted Garak, and to prove his point he set about making love to Julian all over again.

THE END

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