Garak's Revenge
Chapter Seven: Recognitions

     Kira walked with Julian to the infirmary.  He was moving more slowly than usual, obviously in pain.  When she remembered how Garak had sauntered away without a trace of discomfort, it made her blood boil.
     A minute after they reached the infirmary, an emergency case came in.  An engineer had been working on a conduit when a plasma discharge had badly burned his arm and shoulder.  Knowing there was nothing she could do to help, Nerys slipped away to her quarters.  Calling an orderly out of bed to assist him, Julian set to work immediately removing bits of charred uniform from the wounds, and before he finished it was the middle of the night.
Leaving the orderly to finish healing the burns, he stumbled to Nerys's quarters.  As he rang the chime, he wondered momentarily if she would let him in.
     "Come in, Julian," she said seriously.  "Sit down."  Nerys wore a long, simple shift of some rust-colored fabric that matched her hair.  Even in his exhausted state, Julian admired it.
     "I can't," he said in frustration.  "I was too embarrassed to let the orderly heal me, and I can't do it myself."  He held out a medical kit to her.  She took it silently and watched as he
stripped and lay down on her bed.  Following his instructions, she ran the medilyzer over each wound and then showed him the readout so he could set the tissue regenerator for the proper
depth.  Working that way, she had healed the major welts and cuts in about an hour.  Julian still lay with his face buried in the sheets.
     "Thank you, Nerys," he sighed.  "I feel much better now."
     "Good," she said briefly.  "Then we can talk."
     "What about sleep?" he groaned.  "I have a feeling I have to be back at work in a few hours."
     "Tomorrow's your day off.  Did you forget?"
     He raised his head.  "You know, I had.  Did you manage to get the day off, too?"
     She nodded.  "I thought we might go to Risa."
     "But Risa's--you mean in a holosuite?"
     "That's right."
     "I'm not sure I want to go to that Risa again."  He shuddered.
     "But you haven't been to my Risa yet," she insisted.  "Actually, I've never been to Risa, so this will be a Risa completely from my imagination."  She traced with a finger the angry red scars that still crossed his buttocks, thighs, and back.  "How long will these take to heal?" she asked idly.
     "They ought to fade in a few months," he said.  "Then there will be white scars for quite a while.  Garak will get his wish:  I won't forget this beating for some time."
     Fascinated in spite of herself, Kira traced another line that went diagonally across his cleft.  "Julian," she said.
     "What?" he replied, enjoying the feel of her hand, but ashamed to know what she was looking at.  Remembering the shame of being beaten while he begged for mercy sent a warm blush coursing through his face and neck.  As Kira continued to trace the scars of the lash, the warmth didn't fade.  He realized that he was beginning to get aroused.  He was glad to be lying on his stomach so that Kira couldn't tell.  The whipping he had endured had been far from exciting, so why was the thought of the marks it had left on his body suddenly turning him on?
     "Julian," Kira said again, "I have to tell you something."
     "What?" he repeated.
     "This is embarrassing," she began.  "When I was healing you, I just wanted to help you.  I didn't feel at all excited by those bloody welts.  But now, looking at these scars..."  She trailed
off, her voice faltering slightly.  Without answering, Julian abruptly rolled over.  For a second, she thought he was furious at her revelation, but then she saw his erection.  He was smiling
at her devilishly.
     "I don't understand this, either," he said, "but I don't see why we shouldn't take advantage of it."  He pulled her on top of him.
     As Kira's lips met his voraciously, her hands found his arms and started stroking them as she urged them up above his head.  He complied with her gestures, wondering what she would do.  She reached between their bodies to untie the sash from around her waist.  It was a long, multi-colored scarf.
     "You won't break out of this so easily," she said in a throaty voice.
     A burst of arousal lit Julian's groin as Nerys tied his hands firmly to the headboard.  He tried his bonds and they held.  Nerys inspected the knots critically and then went back to kissing him, scratching his sides and chest lightly with her nails.  He trembled in response, and she ran the nails of both hands lightly around his aureoles, approaching his nipples in concentric circles.  When her nails hit his sensitive nipples, he flinched and gasped, but he didn't ask her to stop.  She watched his face.
     "Too hard?" she asked with concern.
     "Yes," he managed to say.
     "You should have told me."  She ran her nails down his belly and grabbed his erection.  He realized he had fallen into the slave mentality that Garak had tried to trap him in.  Irrationally feeling that if he asked her to stop he would have been rebuffed, he had tried to suffer in silence.  But Nerys wasn't out to torture him as Garak had been; she didn't want to
hurt him, but she liked being in control.  For some reason he liked giving up control.  There it was.  He relaxed and let his mind clear as her mouth engulfed his penis and her hands rubbed
his balls.  One hand pushed between his buttocks and touched his sensitive opening.  He pulled involuntarily against his bonds, and, finding himself securely bound, nearly came.
     "Nerys," he whispered.
     "I know," she answered.  "Let yourself go."
     When her mouth resumed its skillful stimulation of his cock, her finger started to penetrate him from behind and her other hand gently squeezed his balls.  His wrists twisted against the
scarf, but it didn't give.  He could no longer stop himself from exploding into orgasm, groaning and tugging against the scarf.
     When Julian's throbbing had stopped, Nerys untied the scarf and put her arms around him, easing herself against his side.  "Don't you want me to lick you?" he asked, surprised.
     "I want you to do whatever you want," she replied, holding up the scarf.  She pulled the shift off over her head and lay on her back.
     Suddenly feeling energized again, Julian knelt over her and tied her hands where his had just been.  "Too tight?" he asked in concern.
     "No."  She watched him expectantly, and he watched himself as well.  He surveyed her body, unsure of what to do first.  Finally he realized that Nerys was excited by the anticipation.
Placing his fingertips on her shoulders, he ran them lightly down her body, brushing her nipples and open labia on the way.  She shook with pleasure at his touch.  He made circles on her skin with his long fingers, touching everywhere equally, not dwelling on her most sensitive areas, but making her wait for his fingers to find them.  He watched her eyes to gauge her responses.
     Normally not a patient person, Nerys suddenly enjoyed giving up responsibility for what happened next.  Letting go of her desire to guide her own satisfaction, she gave herself up to the rhythm of his hands.  She trusted those hands; she knew that they would give her everything she wanted.
     Julian increased the pressure of his fingers now, making the swirling touch almost a light massage.  When he swept over her nipples or through her labia he started to dwell on them, picking up her moisture on his hands and rubbing it on her breasts.  He bent to taste them, aroused by her excited scent.  After thoroughly kissing and nibbling her breasts, he moved to her face.  His lips sipped at her neck, biting a trail from her ear to her collarbone, then up her throat to her chin, finally to her hot mouth.  She sucked at his tongue as if she wanted to drink
him, straining and twisting hard against the scarf.  Like him, she didn't want to get away, but just to feel the resistance against her wrists of the material that bound her to Julian's pleasure.
     Without warning, without removing his mouth from hers, he slipped inside her forcefully, nearly lifting her off the bed with his erection.  She gasped into his mouth and then redoubled
her attentions to his tongue and lips, nipping at them in her excitement.  Julian thrust against her, swiveling his hips to rub her from every angle.  Arching her body and pressing the back of
her head hard into the sheets, Nerys came in a great burst that only trailed off minutes later.  As she throbbed down from the first orgasm, a second one hit like a wave, throwing her back
into a sea of delight.  A third was less intense, but still staggering, and a fourth left her floating calmly at the surface as Julian cried out her name and pulsed deep inside her.
     He untied her hands, and they lay together quietly.  When Julian nestled against her side with his mouth at her shoulder, she pulled the blankets over them both.  They slept peacefully
until morning.

     They rose late, got coffee and rolls from the replicator, and went back to bed.  Julian felt almost euphoric.  He had survived Garak's mistreatment of him the previous day; at night
his lovemaking with Nerys had been amazingly intense.  Although he still didn't understand their new attraction to bondage games, he was starting to accept it.  But the fact that Garak had first made the idea exciting to them both disturbed him.  Someday he would work out the balance of attraction and repulsion in that relationship, if it was still a relationship.  He put those thoughts aside for the moment.
     "Only one thing worries me right now, Nerys," he said.
     "I know," she said simply.  "Odo."
     "He's furious at me, isn't he?"
     Nerys spoke through a mouthful of roll.  "That's putting it mildly.  But he's willing to talk to you."
     "He is?"
     "That's why we're going to Risa today."
     Julian stopped with his coffee halfway to his lips.  "Odo's going to a holosuite?  Never!"
     "He's going to sneak in through the wall.  Quark will never know because I've disabled his recording link."
     Julian took a large sip of coffee and made a face as the hot liquid coursed down his throat.  "Why can't we just meet here?  It would be easier for everyone."
     Nerys threw him a strange look.  "But not as much fun."
     "Uh-oh," Julian said, feeling a spark of annoyance, "don't tell me there's going to be a surprise for me there.  Why is everyone on the station bent on teaching me a lesson?"
     Nerys's eyes twinkled.  "Maybe you need one," she said.
     "I haven't learned anything so far," he joked.

     Bashir made a quick stop in his quarters to change into civilian clothes.  He wore tight black pants with a loose silk shirt in watery blue.  Kira wore her shift of the night before.
Julian felt strange strolling through the Promenade in the morning dressed so conspicuously.
     As the door to the holosuite shushed closed behind them, Julian realized that Kira had indeed taken great liberties with Risa.  The room resembled one of the resort rooms he had
replicated for his scene with Garak, but of a slightly different layout.  The sun at the windows was brighter, and there were striking artifacts placed here and there around the room that
looked like Bajoran art works and weaving.  Even the cover on the large bed was Bajoran.  He turned to Kira, who was waiting for his reaction.
     "Looks like home," he said, sitting down on the bed and gesturing for her to sit near him.
     She nodded, smiling.  Her eyes were drawn to the translucent curtains that divided off part of the room.  "We have a guest," she said quietly.
     Julian rose and turned, expecting to see Odo.  The bulky shape he saw coming through the drapes made him take two steps back.
     "Garak," he breathed, "how did you get in here?"
     "I go where I please on this station," Garak said calmly.  "My, my, doctor, you do look a little pale.  Too much excitement lately?"
     Bashir glanced over at Kira.  Her face revealed nothing, but he thought her silence did.
     "Odo?" he asked tentatively.  "It must be you."
     Garak laughed.  "How would you know?"
     "I'll figure it out," Julian said simply.  "I know you."
     "Do you mean you'll know Odo by his manner?  His touch?  But what if Odo was angry at you, very angry?  What if Odo looked exactly like me?  Couldn't his touch be as painful as mine?  And perhaps as exciting?"  The Cardassian took a step towards him.
     "Nerys," Julian said, appealing to her, "did you know about this?"
     "No," she said, looking a bit pale herself, "I didn't know what shape he'd take, but I promised not to interfere."
     "But what if it's Garak?  What if he broke in here to get at me again?"  He thought a moment, and concluded that Garak just couldn't be here.  "Listen to me, Odo," he began reasonably.
     The Cardassian bristled visibly.  "Stop thinking I'm Odo," he hissed.  "I knew Major Kira had a reservation for this suite, and I came in here to talk to you."
     "I have nothing to say to you, Garak.  But I have a lot to say to Odo."  Julian observed him closely, trying to see if anything about the man looked wrong, but everything looked like
Garak.  He shuddered involuntarily--whether with disgust or arousal he couldn't have said--at the memory of kissing that hard mouth with the softness inside.  "Where's Odo?" he asked angrily.  "He's the one I want to see, not you."
     "Here I am," said a voice, and another figure appeared through the diaphanous curtains.
     Julian groaned in exasperation.  "One of you must be a holo simulation," he said angrily.  "Now which one is it?"  He walked around them.  Garak turned with him, while Odo remained where he was, rolling his eyes and wearing a long-suffering expression.  Well, they're both in character, Julian thought, trying to find a method of telling them apart.  He decided to throw it back to them--him?
     "So?" he said, trying to seem nonchalant when he really was terribly angry.  "Now what do we do?"
     "Now we fuck you," Garak said, "and you guess who is who."
     Julian laughed sincerely and walked towards the door.  "No," he said firmly, "that's not going to happen."
     "Julian," said Nerys from the corner, "you can't get out."
     "And you won't let me out?"  He turned on her in anger.
     "I'm sorry, I promised Odo."
     "Is Odo even here?" he snapped.
     "Oh, he's here," said Odo.
     "Definitely," said Garak.
     Julian walked up to face them--first Garak and then the shape shifter.  "You've lied to me before, Garak," he said, "and you, Odo, might be a simulation."  His instincts told him that
they couldn't both be here threatening him like this--Odo just wouldn't collaborate with Garak against him.  One of them had to be a fake.
     "On the other hand," remarked Garak, "he's never lied to you--but there's always a first time--and I might be a simulation.  Now where does that get you?"
     Exactly nowhere, Julian thought glumly.  "The method you describe won't get me anywhere, either," he said aloud.  "You couldn't tell the difference between fucking me and a simulation,
now could you?" he asked Garak.
     "No, not at first, but once I thought about it..."
     Julian snorted derisively.  "Once I told you, you thought I had been a simulation, too, and that proves my point.  Thank you, Garak."
     Garak looked seriously irritated.  "You're quite welcome, doctor.  I'm always willing to provide you with a laugh at my expense.  But now it's time for our experiment."  He took a step
towards Julian, who backed up to the wall, looking around for possible weapons.
     "Wait," said Kira, looking worried, "I didn't think you were going to hurt him, or I never would have agreed to this.  You said you were going to talk to him."  The way she looked back and forth between them made Julian understand suddenly that she really had no idea who they were, either.
     "And so we are," said Odo.  "Talking to him, I mean."  Garak stalked over to Julian, who lashed out with his foot.  The Cardassian took a step backwards.
     "That's enough," barked Kira.  "Computer, end program."
     Nothing happened.  Kira hit her comm badge, which turned out to be dead.
     Kira and Bashir stood looking at each other in horror.  "Who did that?" Kira whispered.
     Odo and Garak exchanged a quick glance.  "I put in a manual override before you entered," Garak explained.  "Since I used my Cardassian security codes, yours didn't have a chance."
     "I thought O'Brien had deactivated all the old security codes," Bashir snapped.
     "You'd have to do a root canal on the computer to accomplish that," Odo said evenly.  "Until then, Garak has access to all sorts of things he shouldn't."
     The two glared at each other in silence for a moment.  Through his apprehension, Julian admired the verisimilitude of the simulation--simulations?  Two such unlikely allies wouldn't
see eye to eye for very long in real life, either.
     "Now, what was I doing when I was distracted?" Garak asked rhetorically as he lunged at Bashir.
     The struggle would have been longer if Julian hadn't made the fatal mistake of trying to punch Garak in the jaw, nearly breaking his hand in the process.  Immobilized by the pain in his knuckles, he allowed Garak to drag him to the bed and throw him down on it.  He lay cradling his hand for a few minutes while Garak watched him.
     "Julian, are you all right?" said Kira's anxious voice.
     He sat up and saw her sitting in the same chair she had occupied moments before, only this time her hands and feet were bound.  "Odo!" he said angrily, looking from one to the other.
"How could you?"  Both continued to look at him impassively.  "So, what happens now?" he asked, too furious to feel his fear, as waves of adrenaline poured through him.  "You'll strip me, cuff me to the bed, take turns with me?  Maybe use a torture device or two?  Or a whip?  Can't you even wait until the scars from my last beating fade out?"
     "Your... last beating?" Odo asked hesitantly, sending a fiery glance towards Garak.
     "Yesterday," Garak said calmly.  "Didn't I mention it?  Just a few blows, really, and then Major Kira gave me back more than my share."
     For whatever reason, the simulated or real figures were radiating aggravation with each other.  Instinctively, Julian took advantage.  "Look, Odo," he said quickly, pulling up his
shirt.  "They reach all the way down to the backs of my legs."  The red stripes stood out plainly against his caramel skin.
     "You never mentioned that," Odo said, aghast.  "You said you only wanted to give him a little scare, not that you'd already given him real cause to be frightened."
     As Garak turned angrily to answer Odo, Julian got up cautiously and went over to Kira.  Garak followed him with his eyes, but didn't move to stop him.  "Nerys," Julian whispered,
"did you tell Odo about the whipping?"
     "Yes," she breathed, "but I made him promise not to go after Garak."
     "So it's Garak who's real, then, not Odo," Julian realized with a stab of fear.  "What happened to Odo?"
     She shrugged.  "Maybe he didn't come.  He didn't want to, but he said he'd think about it."
     Julian hit his comm badge.  Nothing happened.  As Odo continued to harangue him, Garak laughed and stopped watching Julian.  Immediately, the doctor started trying to undo the cuffs
that bound Kira's hands behind her.  "We have to get out of this," he said, "or he's going to rape me again."
     "I thought..." she said hesitantly.
     "You thought I liked it?" Julian said, blushing.  "I explained that the other night.  It arouses me in spite of myself.  He arouses me.  If he'd given me the choice, I'd willingly have gone with him.  But until he stops hurting me and playing these stupid games, I'm not going near him anymore.  In fact, if he succeeds in raping me this time," he continued wearily, "I'll go with you to Sisko, whether Garak has the data chip or not, and whether he gets sent back to Cardassia or not.  I'm tired of being his toy."
     "Do you miss Odo?" Kira asked without warning.
     Julian looked up in surprise.  "Yes.  Yes, of course, I do.  But I'm sure he'll never understand why I let this go so far.  Damn these cuffs."  He paused, concentrating.
     Kira glanced at him over her shoulder.  "Why did you let it go so far?" she asked quietly.
     "Because I think that Garak is just carrying on a Cardassian courtship."
     "A courtship!" Kira said, outraged.
     "I thought I explained this to you already," Julian said with a puzzled look.  "On Cardassia, none of what he did to me would be considered especially abusive; it might even be
considered pleasurable.  And I must admit," he said, wincing as he tore a nail on the tough catch of the cuffs, "I did enjoy some of it, but I thought I could get him to see that he needed to
restrain himself with me.  Then we might have been able to find some common ground and each get part of what we wanted.  I thought he was adaptable enough to grasp what I meant and try to meet me there.  But he isn't.  He can't let go of his desire to have total power over me."
     Kira made a sound of assent in her throat and nodded.  "Hmmm.  I still don't understand why you thought he was worth it."
     Julian glanced at her sharply with irritation showing in his eyes.  She seemed much more interested in this conversation than in being released from the cuffs.  "You sound like Odo," he
remarked caustically.  "I thought you agreed to stop arguing with me about it."
     "Odo worries about you," she replied with a catch in her voice.
     "I know I've alienated him, and I'm sorry.  I should have kept talking to him.  And I should have told him..."
     "What?" asked Kira, twisting around to look at him and nearly pulling the cuffs out of his hands.
     Julian blushed again.  A thin film of sweat made his skin glow like honey.  "I should have told him that the first time Garak trapped me in the seven gates of hell, the only way I
finally made myself come was by thinking of him."  Kira turned away before Julian could see her expression.  He wondered what she thought, but filed the question away for later.  "Anyway, this isn't the time to talk about it.  We have to..."  He trailed off as he heard Garak's voice rise over Odo's.
     "I've had enough of this!  Computer, end Odo simulation."  Odo faded out in mid-sentence as if he had never been there. Silence reigned in the room.
     "Ah, that's better," Garak said contentedly.  "I wanted to maintain the illusion for a little while longer, doctor, but I made the mistake of programming him to be too contentious."
     Spurred by panic, Julian finally got Kira's hands free, but Garak was upon them in a few broad strides.  Throwing Julian easily aside, he forced Kira down on her face and reattached the cuffs.  Julian leapt on Garak's back, trying to throw him off balance.  Staggering slightly, Garak reached around and twisted Julian's arm.  As he yelled in pain, the doctor dug the fingers of his other hand into the sensitive pressure points around Garak's jaw.  The Cardassian lost his grip and Bashir sprang free.
     "Now what, doctor?" Garak said grimly.  "Why don't you accept the inevitable?  You always have before.  After all, you asked for this.  You should have learned by now that I am very
hard to dissuade from my desires."
     "I asked for it?" Julian exclaimed in disbelief.  "You're deluding yourself, Garak.  Why, after all this time, don't you understand that I have no desire to be your slave?" he shouted
     "You can't deny your attraction to me," Garak countered in a dangerous tone.
     "I'm not trying to deny it," Julian snapped.
     "Then I don't understand why you fight me.  If you don't want to be hurt, don't fight me."  Garak moved slowly towards him.  Julian edged away.
     "If you don't understand, it's because you don't listen.  I've..."
     That was as far as Julian got before Garak pounced, knocking him to the floor and falling on him, pinning him face down with sheer weight.  He raised Julian's shirt.
     "I want to look at these stripes while I take you," he said with satisfaction.
     "No, Garak!" Julian yelled furiously.  "I don't want you this way, don't you understand?  I don't want to be overpowered again!"  He struggled with all his strength, and Garak had all he
could do to hold Julian's arms behind him.
     "I'd hate to break something, doctor.  I'd advise you to stop resisting."  He squeezed Julian's wrists together painfully, making him fight even harder for release.
     "That's as far as you're going, Garak," said Kira warningly.
     He laughed, not even bothering to look at her as he worked to subdue Julian's struggling body.  But, lying with his left cheek pressed into the rug and his arms stretched painfully
behind him, Julian saw her dissolve into a golden, gelatinous mass.  The cuffs fell to the floor with a soft plop.
     Odo literally sucked Garak off Julian's body, depositing him on the bed with his hands cuffed behind him.  The shape shifter resumed his usual form.  "He's all yours, doctor," he said dryly.
     "Thanks, Odo, but I don't want him," Bashir said sadly.  "Garak, you promised just yesterday that you'd leave me alone."
     "Ah, but then my sources informed me that you were meeting with Kira and a holosuite simulation of me.  I don't take kindly to that, doctor.  I decided that if you craved me, then you ought to have me," he concluded.  "I wasn't aware that Odo was invited."
     "How did you get into Kira's program file?" Odo asked angrily.
     Garak laughed.  "I have ways."
     Bashir turned to Odo.  "What did you program the Garak simulation to do to me?" he asked in annoyance.
     "Just to talk.  To say almost exactly the kinds of things he said, but he wasn't supposed to assault you.  I wanted to show you how brutal he is."  He paused, looking away from Julian's
eyes.  "I wanted to see what you'd do."
     "He's already shown me his brutality himself," Julian said vehemently.  "This is partly your fault, Odo.  You shouldn't have done it.  And you should at least have stopped things as soon as you realized it was really Garak.  Let him go."
     "What?" Odo asked indignantly.
     Julian didn't answer, but squatted down to face Garak.  "None of this was my idea.  I expect you to keep the promise you made yesterday," he said firmly.  "I don't care if you have that
data chip of me or not--if you bother me again, I'll tell Sisko everything and let him deport you."
     "It will be more embarrassing for you than me, doctor."
     "That may be.  But it will be worth it to get you to stop harassing me.  Besides, I'm not sure you'll enjoy your warm welcome on Cardassia.  Will you stop?"
     Garak looked pained and angry.  "Yes, but..."
     "No buts."  Julian rose and walked to the far corner of the room, standing with his back to Garak.  "Don't speak to me again, don't touch me," he said, biting off the words.  "Just go."
     None too gently, Odo rolled Garak over and removed the cuffs.  Garak spoke only to deactivate the security seal and walked straight out the door.
     Julian turned as the door slid closed.  "Where's Kira?"
     "She's supposed to meet us here.  When you went back to your quarters to get dressed, I switched places with her," Odo explained.
     Julian was quiet for a moment.  "Odo, why did you do this to me?"
     "I needed to know how you felt."
     "Ask me," Julian said plaintively.  "You didn't need to frighten me like that.  Or to give Garak what he saw as an excuse to get at me again."
     "I was afraid that you really liked these holosuite scenes with Garak.  After all, you designed one yourself so that he could have you without knowing it."
     "And it blew up in my face.  I got what I wanted, and I paid much more than I had planned.  I'll never put myself into his hands again."  Julian suddenly felt discouraged looking at Odo's
impassive face.  "Did you know about the beating?"
     "Yes," Odo said.  "Kira told me.  I was horrified.  But I wondered if you liked it.  I wondered if you were going to start playing that kind of game with him."
     "I hated it," Julian said, "which is what you'd have found out if you'd asked me.  But, wait--your simulation didn't know."  He rubbed his forehead and laughed softly.  "I'm confused.  This is you, isn't it?"
     "It's me," Odo said reassuringly.  "End program."
     Everything faded out, leaving Odo and Julian in the black and yellow holosuite grid.
     "Resume program," Odo said.  The room reappeared.
     "That's a relief," said Julian sincerely.  He turned towards Odo and reached for his hands.  Slowly, Odo proffered them.  "Odo," Julian said with the air of not knowing what he would say
next, "I've made quite a few mistakes lately, but there's one I won't make again.  I won't let you get so far away from me.  If you think I'm going wrong, then talk to me instead of retreating.
We need each other."
     Odo melted closer to him without even appearing to use muscles and bone.  Julian pulled him close, and Odo's body gave as if it were made of rubber.  Just as Julian had begun to caress
the shapeshifter's pliant substance, the holosuite door slid open.  Julian flinched in surprise.
     "Did everything work out all right?" Kira asked doubtfully, seeing them together.
     "Close the door," Julian replied.
     She walked over to them and looked at Julian's face.
     "Uh-oh," she said uneasily.  "What happened?"
     "Garak and Odo threatened to rape me," he explained, "and you turned into Odo."
     "Odo," she said with irritation, "you didn't say you were going to threaten him."
     "I didn't," he said in a blurry voice as he melted in Julian's arms.  "Garak was really here.  We convinced him to leave."  He massed on Julian's lap and chest, pushing under his
shirt.  Kira knelt and joined him in removing the doctor's clothing.  When Julian was naked, he reached for Kira's shirt, but Odo had already pushed under it, raising it over her breasts.
She lifted her arms and let them remove it together.
     Odo formed himself into a large ball that shoved them across the floor towards the bed.  Taking the hint, they ran to the bed and fell together with their arms already around each other.  Odo pushed insistently between them, moving restlessly over their bodies.  When his substance swelled, it pushed them apart.  Odo reformed between them, facing both of them, holding each with a pair of arms, and kissing each with a passionate mouth.  There
were limbs and genitals enough to go around.  Kira felt that Odo had formed a vulva, and she eagerly turned and slipped her mouth against it as he lapped at her own.  She felt a pang when she thought of Dax, who hadn't had a thought for anyone but Sisko in quite some time.  She enjoyed immersing herself in Odo's substance, licking his clit and making him slippery inside.  She slid her fingers into his vagina as he slid a firm tendril into hers.
     Julian sucked Odo's cock eagerly as it changed and moved inside his mouth, happy to have the shape shifter back.  Odo enveloped Julian's organ into folds of warm liquid that also
touched his back and backside soothingly, caressing each of the stripes from his recent beating.  When Julian was close to coming, Odo slipped out of the middle and surrounded them, pushing their bodies together.  Nerys mounted Julian and came almost immediately, while Odo clung all over her like a second skin, transmitting and receiving her pleasure.
     Julian moved his arms up and down through Odo, feeling him shudder in delight.  He kneaded Odo's mass around on Kira's back, and she responded to the shape shifter's excitement with small sighs as he stimulated the nerve endings through her skin.  Odo
rolled them over and pushed hard into Julian's cleft, propelling him towards orgasm.  As Julian warmed and thrust deeper and deeper into Nerys, she came again, floating on a cushion of
rapture that sprang directly out of Odo's substance as he absorbed their pleasure into himself and enhanced it.
     The three of them lay together for a long while, playing and touching often, talking occasionally.  The holosuite was occupied all day, and Quark was frustrated and confused when he discovered that his recording link suddenly wouldn't function at all.
     Unaccountably, O'Brien was too busy to fix it.

     Months later, Julian walked briskly across the Promenade, thinking about work and heading for the replimat to have a quick lunch.  A large person fell into step beside him.  He turned his
head and walked a little faster.
     "Garak," he nodded formally.
     "Doctor, what a pleasure to see you," Garak said.
     Julian wasn't sure what to say.  "How have you been?" was what he finally settled on.
     "Well enough, thank you, doctor, considering that I haven't been able to see you," Garak answered strangely.
     Julian stopped and threw him a sharp glance.  "Please spare me the recriminations," he said, wishing he had been able to restrain himself.  "Spare me the 'I've missed you' part, anyway."
     "No recriminations, doctor.  You did what you had to do. But I have missed you."
     "Have you?" Julian said, emphasizing the first word sarcastically.
     "I have," Garak replied solemnly.  "Much more than I would have thought possible."
     "Wonderful."  Julian walked as fast as he could, wondering if he should just circle back to the infirmary and skip lunch.
     "I've not only missed you, but..."  Garak stopped while Julian plowed ahead.  "I'm sorry," he said loudly, as several people on the Promenade turned to stare.
     Julian stopped about three meters ahead of him and turned.  "You're sorry?" he asked, ignoring the glances he drew from passers-by.  "You're actually apologizing to me?"
     Garak slowly caught up with him.  "I do apologize," he said, "sincerely.  I misinterpreted your desires.  I did only what I wanted to do.  I hurt you when you didn't want to be hurt."
     "You did," Julian agreed.
     "Can you forgive me?"  Garak smiled, and Julian still wondered about his sincerity.
     "I want to ask you one question, Garak," he said, feeling confused, "why did you beat me after you promised not to?  After that I felt as if I could never trust you again."
     Garak sighed.  "I know.  It was a mistake.  I needed to prove to myself that I wasn't getting soft.  You see, it started to make a difference to me what you thought, what you felt.  I
found myself wondering what you wanted when I should have just taken what I wanted.  I know, I know," he interrupted Julian's protest, "that's not the way you humans do it.  But I didn't want to believe it.  You responded to me so strongly that I thought I could make you my slave.  I couldn't.  But I still...  I hoped..."  Suddenly Garak seemed to have trouble finding words.
     "I think I understand," Julian said quietly, entering the replimat and sitting at a table.  "It must have seemed as if I kept coming back for more.  But the reason I kept trying so hard
with you--the reason I gave you so many chances to understand me--was that I thought you'd finally see that I didn't want to be your slave."
     "But you wanted some of what I gave you," Garak put in.
     Julian blushed.  "Some of it," he agreed grudgingly, "but not all the pain and humiliation.  Mainly, I wanted to meet you as an equal and a lover instead of as an adversary.  But that
never happened."
     "It didn't," Garak acknowledged.  There was a long silence between them.  "This is for you," he said quietly, pushing a data chip across the table.  Julian picked it up.  "Now can we meet as
equals?" Garak asked.
     Julian smiled and reached across the table to tap his hand. "Maybe," he said.  "Let's start with lunch."

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