Odo watched Julian sleep.
The young man lay on his back with one arm across his chest, the other
stretched above his head. He breathed quietly, and his mouth hung
The covers had moved off him during the night--with Kira's help, Julian would have said. Bashir always complained that she stole the blankets, but she had left for her shift an hour ago. Now his body was completely exposed except for his left leg from the thigh down, which was wrapped in the sheet. His skin was the color of honey.
Odo's glance travelled appreciatively up Julian's right leg from the shapely calf to the relaxed thigh, covered with downy hair. The same silky hair traced a thin trail up his belly
towards his chest, which rose and fell with the gentle rhythm of his breath. Observing his companion's breathing was having a hypnotic effect on the shape shifter. His gaze skimmed over the smooth chest, with its chocolate nipples, before lingering on the hollow beneath the ribs and moving back down to the belly with its low thatch of dark, curly hair. The doctor had an erection. The shaft, bulging with blue veins, was slightly lighter than the rest of his caramel skin. His reddish glans peeked out of the foreskin, a drop of pre-ejaculate gleaming at its tip. The cold air had made his scrotum contract into a compact bundle, covered with wiry, black hairs.
Julian's erection suddenly twitched and grew as he moaned softly in his sleep. Odo glanced quickly at his face. A slight flush had spread over his cheekbones as if he were overheated.
Odo had materialized into his usual uniformed body, although there was no one awake to see him. Now he felt uncomfortable seeing Julian's vulnerable nakedness spread out before him. Odo's shape wavered slightly as if out of focus, and then he was naked, too. Still he watched the doctor sleep. Julian made a soft lament and turned his head. He pulled his arm down and moved it aimlessly over his own body as if searching for the lost covers. For a moment, Odo thought he was about to awaken until he settled back down with a low snore and was still again. As Odo's eyes moved once more over Julian's body, he let his thoughts wander, too, wondering for the thousandth time why Julian was attracted not only to himself, but to Garak as well.
If he were Garak, he would have turned Julian over, spread his sensitive cleft, wet the puckered opening, and pushed unmercifully inside, using the slim body as a vehicle for his own pleasure. If he were Garak, he would have enjoyed Julian's startled cry when he awakened already impaled, stretched to capacity, unable to resist. He would have reveled in the futile struggles of that smooth, young body against the hardness that filled him, and think of taunts that would bring a blush to the high cheekbones and a shamed and angry grimace to the liquid eyes and the full lips. Garak would cruelly push his coarse skin against Bashir's lovely rounded ass, not caring if his steady thrusts abraded the tender skin. If he were Garak, he would take what he wanted and disregard Julian's revolt. And, if he were Garak, Julian would be under him right now, moaning with pleasure despite his anger and humiliation.
But, although he wasn't Garak, when Odo had thoughts like those, he became aroused. Angry with himself, he pushed the thoughts away. Still the tingle remained in his substance,
thrilling through his simulated limbs and dying away. And the question remained: what did Julian see in Garak? For that matter, what did he see in Odo?
Garak, being a Cardassian, enjoyed domination games. Whether it was built into his genes or his conditioning, he hadn't been able to understand Julian's desire to meet him as an
equal, but had assumed that he could discern the doctor's cravings, even when Julian denied them. At least Garak conformed to type. But what was Odo's type? How did his people, whoever they were, respond to desire? Was Odo alone in that, too? He supposed he was, for it was unlikely that any other shape shifter in the galaxy was sexually embroiled with a Bajoran female and a Terran male. His relationship with Kira was affectionate and strong. But, Julian, it was Julian who usually occupied his thoughts.
Odo wouldn't take advantage of the doctor again. He had only done so before because someone had once taken advantage of him, and that memory had been so traumatic that he had pushed it away and only come back to it when he had been forced to by
events. That memory of his rape by Gul Dukat explained why he had taken pleasure in holding Julian down to take him. Odo knew that Julian had every right to be enraged. What he couldn't
explain was why Julian had also enjoyed it.
Julian's ambivalence was a never-ending source of hurt and confusion to Odo. Two months before, Julian ended an adventure with Garak that had started out with a rape and ended with an attempted one. In the middle, Julian had actually approached the Cardassian willingly several times. Julian said later that he had wanted to meet Garak as an equal, as a lover. Odo saw nothing attractive about Garak: from the shape shifter's point of view, he was devious, cruel, and unscrupulous. At times, Odo thought he was the greatest security risk on the station. But Julian had been friends with the tailor for some time, and Odo tried to be tolerant. When Garak was mistreating Julian, Odo wanted to arrest and deport him, but was constrained by Garak's blackmail. Later he was constrained by Julian.
Since Garak had given Julian back the embarrassing datachip, Odo had worried that Julian would once again be taken in thrall by the seductive Cardassian. Bashir said he just wanted to be friends again, and that he hadn't decided whether or not he wanted to resume sexual relations with the tailor. He said that Garak had just been confused by the human dislike for domination in sexual relationships. In this one instance, Odo had to agree with Garak, who thought that humans were hypocritical for being aroused by domination and not admitting it. Julian claimed he didn't want to be a slave. While that was certainly true, Odo knew he played bondage games with Kira when Odo wasn't there.
Odo bent protectively over Julian as he thought these things through for the hundredth time. Where would this end? Why wouldn't Julian just listen to him about Garak?
Odo looked at Julian's long eyelashes that brushed against his cheekbones. His eyelids fluttered suddenly. Quickly, Odo dissolved and flowed around the doctor's supple limbs, bathing them in warmth.
"Odo," said Julian happily as he woke up.
Feeling ashamed for his resentful thoughts, Odo started flowing over Julian's skin, caressing it gently. Julian responded by stroking Odo's substance with his hands. As he came closer to being really awake, he turned and caressed the shape shifter with his lips and face. One thing that always amazed Odo was Julian's capacity to be affectionate at almost any moment. As Odo had learned to read humanoid facial expressions, he had found that Julian's face was particularly expressive. Right now, the doctor's eyes were closed and his lips were curved into a vague smile as he mouthed Odo's body and rubbed it against his cheeks and hair. Odo thrilled to his touch.
As the doctor lay cushioned in Odo's fluid body, his erection hardened. Odo felt a shudder of excitement pass from Julian to himself and back again. He warmed quickly to the doctor's arousal as if a current had passed through him and began to flow teasingly around Julian's penis and balls, lapping and sucking all over them. Odo felt Julian's muscles relax as the
Terran let himself be surrounded by the shape shifter's caresses. As he always did, Odo surrendered to the unconscious seduction of Julian's beauty. He felt the Terran giving himself up to the lovely sensations of lying on Odo's pliant substance; he felt how deeply Julian trusted him. Odo suppressed a wave of anguish when he thought of Garak's betrayals. A grid of faint, white scars was barely visible on Julian's back, buttocks, and thighs. Odo stroked them discreetly, not wishing to remind Julian of that experience.
Julian's arousal was at its peak now. He moaned softly as he pressed himself deep into Odo's fluid mass. Clinging to him like a second skin, Odo felt every flicker of every muscle and
nerve. From long experience, he knew exactly how to stimulate the young doctor's body at each stage of his excitement. Now he found Julian's tender opening and carefully massaged it, wetting it as he pushed more and more urgently, seeking entrance. It unfolded suddenly and he plunged inside, stretching it wide, feeling Julian's whole body jerk as intense sensations flooded him.
Now Julian thrust repeatedly into Odo as Odo drove firmly in and out of him in the same rhythm. Except for his head and shoulders, the young man was completely enveloped in the shape shifter's liquid coils. Julian's movements grew stronger and more sure as he approached his climax. The power of Julian's thrusts and the extent of his ravishment filled Odo with sensations that finally spilled into a great tremor of joy. It reverberated through both entwined bodies until neither could have distinguished his ecstacy from the other's.
Julian's breathing slowed as he relaxed on Odo's body, though his fingers continued to knead the shape shifter's substance lightly. Odo flowed gently around him, caressing his
skin and enjoying his feelings of satiety. But Odo himself wasn't completely satisfied. There was something unsettling about making love with a humanoid, something alien in the
physical sensations he absorbed through his essence. When Kira and Julian made love, they met skin to skin. Their eyes looked at each other, their hands held each other, their mouths and their genitals fit together.
When Odo simulated a humanoid, he and Julian or Kira seemed to fit together like that, but their ways of experiencing the sensations they shared were unimaginably different. Despite
Odo's ability to transmit and receive Julian's and Nerys's nerve impulses, the way his body experienced those impulses was something he could not transmit, and they could never understand. Rather than concentrating feelings in his genitals, with a varied and peripheral involvement of skin, mouth, eyes, and ears, Odo felt everything everywhere. Despite how his lovers and friends might think of him, he had no head or limbs, no eyes or ears, and
no skin--no unchanging inside or outside. He was all one, and what he thought or felt united his whole being. Sometimes Odo contented himself with thinking how far he had progressed in his friendships with humanoids; other times, he despaired of ever communicating what he was, or of ever understanding them.
Julian and Kira were a source of inexhaustible fascination to him, with their discrete sensations, their detailed bodies, their specialized organs. But they were also just out of his
conceptual reach, just beyond his understanding. Instinctively, Odo longed for a miscible lover: one who was not to him as water to oil, surface to surface, but whom he could take into himself and be taken into without a moment of complete withdrawal like the one he was experiencing now. That was his ideal of true equality, not this intense but confusing encounter between such different creatures.
Julian was stirring, rolling over on his back to stretch and yawn. "We have to get to work, Odo," he said languorously.
Odo started to pull himself together into a solid mass on the bed as Julian rose. Somehow the shapeshifter didn't want to let him go just yet. "What are you doing today?" he asked, as
his body took humanoid form.
Julian turned in surprise at the question. "I have some appointments this morning and some reports to write. Then lunch with Garak," he continued casually, but Odo thought he detected a catch in the doctor's voice, "and more appointments. A busy day." He shot Odo a smile over his shoulder and started again for the shower.
"Lunch with Garak?" Odo heard himself saying.
"That's right," Julian answered quietly, stopping and turning around with the air of one bracing himself.
"What do you think he wants from you?" Odo persevered, wishing he could stop himself.
Julian shrugged. "The same thing I want from him," he replied a bit defensively, "friendship."
Odo ached to be able to tell Julian how some species differences could not be smoothed over, but still persisted even if the encounter of two disparate beings somehow managed to
approximate love. But since he had never told the doctor about his own feelings of difference and alienation--and since Julian seemed to accept their differences without question, and eve with love--Odo couldn't find a way.
"Is that all?" Odo asked in a sonorous voice, hating the question. To his surprise, Julian blushed and paused, turning half away. Suddenly Odo was afraid.
"No," he admitted, "that's not all. He wants me again, and he says it can be on my terms. I haven't given him an answer."
"Do you want him?" Odo asked, fascinated in spite of himself.
"I don't know," Julian mused softly. "I want the idea of him, but I'm not sure I really want him."
"What?" Odo asked, confused.
"I like to think about some of the things I did with him," Julian said, looking confused himself, "but I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to do them again. It's not really fair to ask him
to do everything my way, and yet," he finished with a wry smile, "I don't really want to be kidnapped, or beaten, or raped." Julian suddenly blushed and looked down at his feet.
"That's your right," Odo insisted angrily. "It doesn't matter what they do on Cardassia. This is Bajoran space, and he has to abide by Bajoran and Federation law."
"Yes," said Julian slowly, "on Cardassia I'd be a slave. A piece of property. He wouldn't have to answer to anyone about what he did to me." The doctor's face was flushed; an
indefinable expression flickered over it--one that Odo didn't recognize.
"Do you like that idea?" he asked, shocked.
"Not really," Julian said defensively. His tawny skin shone warmly with a thin coating of sweat, and the blush on his cheekbones had deepened. "Just as a fantasy that I'd never want
him to know about. Are you jealous?" he countered.
They stared at each other for a long time. "Yes," Odo finally said. The whole mass of his being shivered with fury against Garak and his presumptions.
"Odo," Julian began uncertainly. He stopped, apparently not knowing how to continue.
"You're right, I am jealous," said Odo, warming to the subject, "and I'm asking you not to go with him." If Odo had been a breathing creature, he would have held his breath for Julian's answer.
"Odo, it's just lunch," Julian said nervously. "You've never asked me not to go before."
"I'm asking you not to go now," replied Odo suddenly, lowering his eyes.
Julian walked over to him and hesitated, finally reaching out to take Odo's hands. The shape shifter resisted his touch.
"No, Julian," he said. "Not this time." Julian was silent, and Odo finally looked up to see the pain in his eyes.
"Have I hurt you, Odo?" he asked.
Odo's face looked anguished. "Of course you have," he groaned. "Every time you let Garak have you, every time he hurt you..." He stopped, unable to say more.
"All right, Odo," Julian said quietly, "if it means that much to you, I won't see Garak for lunch today." His lip curled momentarily as if with a repressed remark. Despite his relief, Odo immediately regretted his request.
"Julian," he said hesitantly, "I'm sorry. You don't have to do that for me. I don't have the right."
"No, you don't," Bashir agreed, turning away and stopping again. "I won't see him today," he said without turning, "but I won't promise not to see him at all. We need to talk, Odo, but
I'm due in the infirmary in fifteen minutes." He walked into the bathroom and started the water running.
Odo stayed for a few moments staring after Julian before he finally left for the Security office.
Julian spent the morning
seeing patients and catching up on station business. One report he
needed to write for Sisko was especially difficult, and it took him three
drafts to hit the correct tone. As he read it through for the tenth
time, he realized he was ravenous and got up, with his eyes still on the
screen, to go into the next room and get something to eat. When he
turned, he came face to face with someone standing just behind him.
"Garak!" he exclaimed. Bashir's heart was pounding, and he couldn't keep his face from registering all the surprise he felt.
"Hello, doctor," Garak said smoothly. "I just got your message. Why did you cancel our luncheon date?"
"I told you," Julian said brusquely, annoyed with himself. "I had some work to catch up on."
"So it seems I'm just in time, because you're just about to get something quick to eat," Garak said in mock surprise. "May I join you?"
"No," Julian muttered, embarrassed. "I was going to keep working while I ate. Excuse me, Garak." Pushing past the Cardassian, Julian left his office, relieved to put some distance
between them. Garak's close physical presence had recently started to make him feel as if there wasn't enough oxygen in the air he breathed. He panted slightly as he reached the infirmary replicator.
"Caesar salad," he ordered, "and oolong tea, hot."
Garak came up behind him. "It never ceases to amaze me that you humans can live on vegetables," he remarked.
"Your metabolism requires more protein and less fiber than mine does," Julian replied automatically.
"How many times have you told me that, doctor?" Garak's warm breath touched the back of Julian's neck. "Do you enjoy dwelling on the differences between us?" The doctor turned
abruptly, bumping Garak's flat stomach with his elbow.
"You brought it up, Garak," he pointed out angrily. "Now, what are you doing here?" Julian's heart started pounding again. He put his hands up to push Garak away.
"I want you," Garak said simply, taking him by the wrists and pulling him forward. "I'll do anything you want. I won't cause you pain. But I need to have you right now." The
Cardassian looked more desperate than Julian had ever seen him, but he also looked angry. Garak noticed the doctor's wary and frightened expression. "I don't like being in this position,
doctor," he said irritably. "I'm used to taking what I want, when I want it. I don't like to beg."
Julian smiled ironically. "I wonder why you weren't brought up on rape charges long ago, Garak." His legs suddenly felt unsteady. Garak's words and the iron grip on his wrists were
starting to arouse him.
"Because I never wanted anyone on this station except you. Oh, a few Bajorans caught my eye in the old days, of course. But this station was Terek Nor then. None of these liberated
Bajorans appeal to me, nor do any of your oh-so-efficient Federation invaders. Except for you, my good doctor. Except for you." Garak reached for Julian's mouth with his own, opening his lips and entering him with his warm tongue. When the doctor's tongue returned the caress, Garak let go of Julian's wrists to hold him close, and Julian felt the warmth and hardness of
Garak's erection through his clothes.
Julian forgot that his food had materialized in the replicator slot. He forgot everything except Garak pressing into him and his own rising erection. He pulled his mouth away from
their kiss. "We can go into the quarantine room," he said hoarsely. Garak took a step back to release him and followed silently to the airlock door. The doctor detoured briefly to a
cabinet to get a jar of lubricant, which he slipped into Garak's pocket, flashing him an intimate smile.
Julian's fingers fumbled so badly that he had to punch the code in twice to get it right. They entered, and the door slid closed behind them. Garak put his hands on Julian's shoulders.
They were heavy, but Julian noticed a certain lack of force in the Cardassian's touch that he hadn't felt before.
"Is this what you want, doctor?" Garak asked seriously. "Are you here with me willingly?" As they were of approximately the same height, they looked directly into each other's eyes.
"Yes," Julian whispered in a cracked voice. Slowly, hesitantly, he stroked the line of Garak's rigid jaw and rubbed his fingers along the smooth, hard lips. They opened to allow his finger inside, where Garak's tongue darted across it. Garak's eyes closed and his breathing grew shallow. As he withdrew his finger, Julian brought his mouth up to Garak's and ran his tongue around the gray lips. Garak tilted his head back and opened his mouth to Julian, who explored it eagerly, marvelling that the Cardassian was letting him take the lead. Feeling Garak's hard body trembling against him, he began running his hands up and down the ridged back. Garak's strong arms wrapped themselves around him; one strayed down to fondle his ass, making Julian press his hard-on tight against Garak's.
Soon they had moved the few steps to the bed. The Cardassian had his hand between the doctor's thighs, making his ass clench with arousal. Julian fumbled with the closing of
Garak's shirt, then gave up and ran his hands up under it. His fingers went straight to Garak's sensitive nipples, touching them tentatively so as not to exceed a bearable level of sensation.
Garak groaned but didn't try to stop him. It occurred dimly to Julian that the Cardassian was getting fond of that particular caress, which he might never have experienced before the doctor
introduced him to it.
Garak started pushing down Julian's pants, and the doctor kicked his boots off quickly and removed his shirt. The smooth material of Garak's clothes slid over his skin as the bumpy
hardness of the Cardassian hide beneath pressed against his slender chest, making him ache with desire. Julian was completely naked now, while Garak was still clothed. The feel of
Garak's hands taking possession of his body sent shivers of rapture through him. Garak pulled away from their kiss for a moment and smiled, holding Bashir's chin in one large hand.
"Your body is telling me how much you want me, doctor," Garak said in a low voice. His expression was arrogant, and Julian wondered with a flash of anger if he had made a mistake by putting himself once again into the Cardassian's pitiless hands. With a twist of his head, the doctor pulled his face out of Garak's grasp.
"And what is your body telling me?" he asked tauntingly, pushing down Garak's pants and digging his fingers hard into the stiff erection he had so abruptly exposed. Garak gasped and
staggered, and Julian took the opportunity to push him down on the bed.
Garak landed on his back with Julian on top of him. The young doctor resumed kissing him, thrusting his slender hips so that their erections bounced and rubbed together. Garak moaned
into Julian's mouth as his cock began spurting hot semen against Julian's belly. Letting go of Garak's mouth, Julian turned quickly and rubbed the viscous gray liquid firmly into Garak's
belly and chest, using it to lubricate his fingers as he slid them around Garak's nipples. The Cardassian bucked and squirmed under him; his hands grabbed the bars of the headboard that Nerys had once tied Julian to with the g-string.
When Garak's nipples were sufficiently swollen and pink, Julian left off stimulating them to take Garak's penis into his mouth. He straddled Garak's head and swiveled his hips, allowing
Garak's mouth access to his erection. As Julian relaxed his jaw to accommodate the broad, rock-hard Cardassian organ, his own hard-on throbbed as it was completely engulfed in Garak's warm mouth. Garak grabbed his ass, encouraging him to thrust hard. As Julian complied, he felt the stiff cock in his mouth grow suddenly hotter and spurt waves of ejaculate down his throat. Julian remembered the first time he had taken Garak this way, and
how dismayed he had been to discover that the Cardassian could have several orgasms before growing soft. This time it gave him an idea.
Withdrawing from Garak's mouth with difficulty--which meant breaking the hold Garak had on his ass--he grabbed the jar of lubricant and coated Garak's erection with it. Starting at the
sensitive, red tip, he rubbed the slippery stuff gradually all the way down to the base. By the time he had finished, Garak clearly had to force himself to stay flat on the bed. He had a
lustful gleam in his eye that Julian enjoyed seeing directed at himself--he enjoyed even more watching Garak restrain himself without being bound.
Julian turned his back to Garak and eased the Cardassian's hard-on into his cleft, letting gravity instead of muscular force stretch him wide, pushing the slippery organ into him. He gave a series of small gasps as the hard, pulsing thing gradually filled him completely. When he had taken it all in, he squirmed from side to side, rubbing his ass and scrotum over Garak's belly and thighs. Garak stifled an inarticulate cry and pulled Julian down flat against him, shoving up into him as he reached around to pump the doctor's cock. Garak came violently, moaning as Julian had never heard him before. His arm muscles tensed around Julian's chest. With barely a pause, Garak rolled Julian onto his belly and continued to pound into him as he bit and sucked Julian's shoulders and neck in a frenzy. The pain of the bites and the hot wetness of Garak's mouth on his neck made him cry out in excitement. With each stroke, Garak pulled almost completely out, only to plunge deliberately back in, opening him wide and
pinning him firmly to the bed. Although he gasped with arousal at every forceful thrust, Julian could hardly even squirm. With his legs spread wide and Garak's legs holding them down, he was as immobilized as if he had been bound, and his aching cock was trapped under him by Garak's weight.
When Garak had finished with a howl of release and rolled off him, Julian got up quickly to get the jar of lubricant. His unsatisfied erection dangled before him as he pushed Garak back
on his stomach and spread some lubricant over his opening. He pushed slowly inside until his belly was flat against Garak's ass. The tough Cardassian passageway held his throbbing erection in a grip so tight it was almost more painful than exciting. Gasping and moaning, Julian moved slowly in and out until Garak's muscles relaxed, then faster and faster until he was slamming into Garak with all his might. When he came he yelled his delight and dropped away onto the bed. The Cardassian took him roughly into his arms.
"You're mine," he snarled huskily with his head buried against Julian's shoulder.
"No," Julian protested, appalled, "I'm not yours."
"I know, Julian," Garak said in a muffled but ironic voice, "but please leave me some small shred of my illusion."
It took Julian a moment to realize what had just happened. After all their misunderstandings, the Cardassian had finally given up the struggle to dominate him--not the desire, but the will. Julian was deeply moved. "Garak," he exclaimed happily, "you called me by my first name."
"Then why don't you call me by mine?" Garak countered in mock annoyance.
Julian remembered. "Elim," he said. "I thought you didn't know I knew your name."
Garak laughed. "I heard. And it's up to you to figure out where."
Julian echoed his laugh and playfully grabbed a handful of Garak's coarse hair.
"Elim," he said again softly.
Odo stopped deluding
himself around the time he reached the replimat. He didn't really
have any business in this part of the Promenade--he had only come to see
if Julian had honored his unreasonable request. In fact, Julian was
nowhere in sight. But then neither was Garak. And that was
a bad sign, since Garak almost always had lunch at this time, whether the
doctor met him or not.
Unable to restrain himself, Odo turned his steps towards the infirmary. It was empty. So was Bashir's office. Making a low growl in his throat, Odo hit his communicator.
"Computer, locate Dr. Bash--" A sudden thought made him stop in mid-sentence. His eyes were drawn to the closed door of the quarantine airlock. He walked over to it slowly, straining
to pick up any sound. He created a more sensitive inner ear and continued to listen. Nothing.
Cautiously, he dissolved his upper body and flowed through the outer door, landing on his reformed feet in the small airlock. Again he listened, and, this time, a muffled sound that
might have been a cry of distress reached his ears. The image of Garak's last attempt to rape Julian came unbidden to his mind. Once again he saw Julian struggling in Garak's grasp as the
Cardassian spread his shapely derriere and prepared to push inside. Shivering through his entire substance, he dissolved again and pushed his head carefully through the inner door to the quarantine room, where he was completely unprepared for the sight that met his eyes.
Julian lay on his back with his legs drawn up and spread as far as they would go. Garak lay between his legs, his muscular ass contracting powerfully as he steadily drove his erection deep into Julian's cleft. He held himself up on knees and elbows, so that Odo got a glimpse of Julian's erection just before each stroke squeezed it tight between his and Garak's bellies. Garak held Julian's wrists together firmly over his head as the doctor writhed and strained against the Cardassian's grip. Odo would have been sure that he was witnessing a rape had he not also noticed that Julian's head was slightly lifted from the mattress and his open mouth was pressed hard against Garak's. The tendons stood out in his neck, and his hips swiveled and rose as he opened himself completely to every thrust of Garak's cock.
Odo was paralyzed with fear and jealousy. As he watched Garak thoroughly fuck Julian, his Julian, he found to his horror that he had involuntarily sprouted an erection of his own that
reappeared each time he tried to merge it with the rest of his substance. Silently he screamed at himself to move--to either intervene or leave. But he could do nothing except watch as his
body trembled with conflicting sensations.
Garak tore his mouth from Julian's and buried his face in the doctor's neck, kissing and biting him hard enough to make him moan and writhe. He pulled out until only the tip of his cock remained in the doctor's opening.
"Say that you belong to me," he said gruffly, "or I'll stop."
Julian's laugh was almost a sob. His eyes were glazed over with lust. "Stop, then," he said hoarsely. "See if you can."
Garak drove in slowly to the hilt and pulled out again. "Don't try me," he said dangerously, holding Julian's arms firmly against the bed as the doctor squirmed, desperate to impale
himself completely on Garak's shaft.
"Why shouldn't I?" Julian gasped. "I know you, Elim. You can't stop. Now, come here."
He captured Garak's mouth with his own. With a muffled growl of frustration, the Cardassian plunged back into him over and over, harder and harder, driving Julian wild with excitement. Again Garak stopped, pulling nearly all the way out.
"Say it," he said grimly.
"I don't belong to you," Julian said slowly, panting between words. "You belong to me. You can't do without me. You can't stay away."
Odo felt a small pulse of satisfaction when he saw Garak's appalled expression. "I can't help it," Garak cried. "I need to own you." He slammed back into Julian, making him cry out and close his eyes. Once again, Odo saw Garak's ass contract and his hips rotate as he opened Julian repeatedly with his hardness. The doctor threw back his head and moaned with abandon as he came, wrapping his legs tightly around Garak's shoulders. A few seconds later Garak released his arms, which Julian immediately entwined around Garak's neck to pull him down for an open-mouth kiss. He received Garak's muffled cries in his throat as Garak's
semen spurted deep into his body.
For a moment, they lay quietly until Garak rolled onto his back, taking Julian with him, and heaved a satiated sigh.
"I'll never let you own me, Elim," Julian said softly.
"I know, Julian," came the faint answer.
As if their release had also set him free from his paralysis, Odo silently withdrew his head from the door and flowed back through the airlock into the infirmary. He took shape awkwardly, reeling with confusion at the scene he had just witnessed. For the first time he truly understood the depth of Julian's lust for Garak and Garak's for Julian, and it frightened
him profoundly. But, while their bodies had pleasured each other, their minds and hearts had seemed to be at complete odds, futilely struggling for supremacy in a game that could never have a winner. Then, with a shiver of dread, Odo remembered hearing Julian call Garak "Elim." That could only mean that they'd reached some new degree of intimacy.
Odo decided to wait for them. He knew that Julian had a busy afternoon ahead, and that he wouldn't shirk it even for Garak's sake. He would make one more try to get Julian to see
how wrong this was. Standing in the center of the room to wait, he closed his eyes and spent the time trying to calm down and normalize his shape. If Julian saw these distortions, he'd know immediately just how anxious Odo felt. He could never tell anyone what he had just seen; in fact, he had trouble admitting to himself that he had actually stayed and watched as long as he had.
The sound of a door hissing open made Odo look up in time to see Julian and Garak come out of the quarantine room together and stop in surprise. Even if Odo had not witnessed their coupling, there would have been no doubt about what they'd been doing. Bashir's face was flushed and his hair was wet as if he had just showered. Garak's usually impeccable suit looked wrinkled and damp. Odo stood with folded arms and a set expression on his
"There's no need to ask whether you kept your promise," Odo said darkly.
Julian walked up to him, looking pained. "Odo, you suddenly remind me of my father," he joked with a wan smile. "Can you come in my office so we can talk?"
"Only if you're ready to promise me that you won't see Garak anymore," Odo spat, feeling that his demand was hopeless before it left his mouth. With a twinge of guilt, he remembered the passionate coupling he had just witnessed.
Garak stepped quickly forward. "If you're going to discuss me, I think I have a right to be present," he said firmly.
Julian looked helplessly from one to the other. "I don't really think there's anything for the three of us to discuss," he said, "but I do need to talk to Odo." As the doctor spoke, Odo
and Garak glared at each other steadily. "Come on," Julian said, taking the shape shifter's arm. Odo let himself be pulled along towards the office.
"Doctor," Garak called after them, "I just want you to know that I have no objections if you wish to continue seeing Odo. But I really have no idea why you'd want to after this display of
temper. If you want to talk to me I'll be in my shop." He left quickly.
"He has no objections!" Odo exclaimed indignantly.
"Odo," Julian argued, "it took a lot of effort for him to say that."
Odo turned a cold look on him. "Is that so?"
"Yes. He's very possessive."
"So am I!" Odo cried. "Maybe my mistake is that I haven't told you how badly I feel when you go with Garak."
"You told me this morning. And, anyway, you don't object when I'm with Nerys."
"That's because Nerys and I have a relationship, too. And, besides, I respect her," Odo continued, looking irritated. "Garak is an unknown. He's probably a spy, perhaps a former
member of the Obsidian Order--"
"There's no proof--"
"Let me finish!" Julian was startled when Odo raised his voice. "Perhaps a former member of the Obsidian Order, definitely someone who has had too many dealings with Gul Dukat
and the Cardassian High Command, and is occasionally privy to their thoughts. And, finally, he is someone who never tells the truth if a lie will do."
"That's true," Julian admitted, "but he's starting to take my relationship with him seriously."
"How do you know?" Odo asked triumphantly. "He could be lying about that, too."
"Well, would that matter so very much?" Julian fumed. "What if I just get some pleasure out of seeing him?"
Odo paused. "I don't want you to be hurt," he said.
"But if I'm going to be, you can't protect me," Julian argued. "It's up to me whether or not I trust Garak to keep his promises."
"He didn't before," remarked Odo sullenly.
"I know," Julian replied. "I'll just have to see."
"I'm going to talk to him," Odo said suddenly.
Julian started to object and then changed his mind. "I don't know what to say to you anymore," he said with exasperation in his tone, "and I have no idea what you intend to say to him. If you want to talk to Garak, go ahead. But don't blame me if he leads you in circles."
Not sure himself what he would say to his rival, Odo left without another word. He had nearly reached Garak's clothing shop when someone took him by the arm.
"Odo, what's wrong?" Nerys was looking into his face with concern.
Odo stopped his headlong rush and tried to collect his scattered thoughts. "I just came from the infirmary. Julian and Garak are meeting again."
Nerys grew suddenly pale. "What happened? Did Garak hurt him?"
"No, but they came out of the quarantine room together, and I..." To Odo's surprise, Nerys put a gentle finger to his lips.
"Did Julian look happy?" Odo nodded, realizing it for the first time. "Then you'd better not think about it too much," she said quietly. "I don't intend to."
"But what if he..."
Kira's eyes darkened with feeling as she answered. "If that Cardassian's head is so thick that he hasn't learned to stop torturing Julian, then I'll make him sorry he ever came to this
station." Realizing that she was digging her fingers into Odo's arm, she suddenly withdrew her hand. "But if they've worked something out, why should we interfere? I don't like the thought
of it any more than you do, but..." Nerys trailed off with a shrug. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to talk to Garak," Odo said harshly. "I'll find some way convince him to leave Julian alone."
Nerys patted his arm. "Good luck," she said sympathetically. "But you know as well as I that it won't do any good."
Garak had just started
sorting moodily through a rack of suits when Odo arrived in the doorway.
"Ah, come in, Constable," he said graciously. "I must say, I'm not very surprised to see you. So, what have you decided? What trumped-up charge will you use to throw me in the brig? I
warn you, you won't destroy the good doctor's attraction for me that way. In fact, you'll only hurt your own cause by being unjust to me."
"I know that," said Odo quietly. "I haven't come to arrest you."
Garak looked up suddenly at something in the shape shifter's tone. "Splendid, Constable. Then what have you come to say to me?"
"I want to know what you intend to do with Dr. Bashir," Odo said stiffly.
"Do with him?" Garak scoffed. "Our young doctor has made it abundantly clear that I have no right to 'do' anything with him. Except, of course, to enjoy him occasionally, when he consents and on his terms." Garak picked a suit off the rack and tossed it over a chair. "That style hasn't sold in ages. I don't know what I was thinking of." He spared Odo a quick, amused glance that struck the shape shifter as almost rueful. "Of Dr. Bashir, most likely."
To his own astonishment, Odo felt a sudden kinship with the Cardassian tailor. He couldn't think of a thing to say.
"Tell me, Constable," Garak said confidentially, "you're involved with Dr. Bashir and Major Kira." He waved away Odo's gesture of objection with one large hand. "Don't be naive, Odo.
The whole station knows, and you can blame your friend Quark, of course. What a gossip!"
"Quark," Odo repeated angrily. "Why would he..."
"Forget about Quark," Garak said impatiently. "I want to ask you something more important. I've been wondering how you deal with those impulsive creatures. How do you deal with their caprices, their obsessions, their insane objections to the least little thing?"
"You mean their objection to little things like having their skin laid open with a knotted whip?" Odo asked sarcastically.
Garak laughed. "I see. You want to change the subject. That's understandable. It's painful." He went back to rummaging through the rack and discarded two more suits.
"I'm waiting for you to make your point, Garak," Odo said, realizing that he didn't want the conversation to end just yet.
Garak's clever eyes flickered up at him for an instant. "My point is that we're both in the same situation. For whatever reason, here we are, each of us the only one of his kind on this
forsaken station. We both suffer, every day, the glances of those who find our differences objectionable or frightening, or in my case only, Constable, who might wish to drive us off the
station, or worse.
"Again, for whatever reason, we've both grown attached to a certain young man, a sensual man of strong feelings. That's why I thought we might share our experiences and learn from each other. Whether you like it or not, we have something in common, Odo. Each of us in his own way has tried to understand Dr. Bashir, and to satisfy him, and possess him."
"I haven't tried to possess him," Odo objected.
Garak let his hands drop from the row of suits and turned to face Odo. "Then what are you doing here now, Constable?"
When Odo didn't answer, Garak continued. "I thought our good doctor was worthy of me, and indeed he was worthier than even I imagined. Unfortunately, I was overconfident of my
ultimate victory and so I lost. I am now little more than his slave." Garak's amused tone clashed with his words and made Odo's substance ripple with irritation. "So you see, Constable," Garak went on expansively, "the question is not, what am I going to do with the doctor, but what is he going to do with me?"
Odo snorted, pushing away the still-vivid memory of Julian, lying helpless in Garak's grasp, declaring that he owned the Cardassian. "You're exaggerating. Julian couldn't enslave you--
Garak shook his head. "Not in the proper sense," he said with a little smile. "After all, we are not on Cardassia. However, my desires are now bound by his--if I give them free
rein again, I'll lose him. I know that now."
There was silence between them for a few moments. Odo realized that, despite his discomfort with Garak's feelings, he no longer wanted to threaten or berate the tailor. Something strange was happening to him. He almost thought he could understand, if not empathize with, Garak's point of view.
"So, Constable," Garak continued, "I wondered how you managed to accept these human eccentricities, but perhaps you aren't much better at it than I am."
"Perhaps not," Odo choked out.
"I have a suggestion to make," Garak said confidentially. "Ignore me."
"Ignore you?" Odo echoed, confused.
"Pretend I'm not involved with Julian. Pretend he rejected me definitively. I won't be around much, and I won't interfere with you. You can go on spending nearly every night with him"--the tailor's bright eyes flashed brighter for a second with anger--"go on feasting while I pick up the crumbs."
"I don't pretend," said Odo, thinking he didn't quite understand.
"All the worse for you," Garak shrugged. "Then you'll go on tormenting yourself about whether I'm with him or not instead of enjoying him yourself. And, sooner or later, you'll drive him away."
"I see," said Odo, who was starting to. "But Major Kira..."
Garak interrupted him with a laugh. "Major Kira? She's brilliant at ignoring me! You might take a lesson from her, Constable. As long as her precious Julian doesn't come home with
welts down his back, as long as he hasn't been raped or scarred, she won't think about me any more than she has to."
"But if he does..."
"He won't. A few innocent bite marks, perhaps, but no stripes."
Odo thought again about the alien feeling he had when he made love with Julian. Although Garak had a head, two hands, and stable sexual organs, maybe he experienced a sense of
irreconcilable differences when he was with Julian, too. All this time, Garak had been trying to find a lover to help him keep his loneliness at bay. But, like Odo, he was surrounded by
aliens, unable to choose one of his own kind. Perhaps Garak's mistreatment of Julian, and even his attempts to enslave him, had not been inspired by deliberate cruelty, but by desires that would have been acceptable if he were home on Cardassia.
Odo himself had two humanoid lovers, and, although he had no tradition to follow in his relations with them, he did have instincts. Sometimes he had vague feelings of unease with things Julian and Nerys took for granted, while at other moments he had the urge to initiate things but often didn't, fearing that his partners would find them bizarre. Luckily, they had already accepted him as a partner in his liquid state, and that made him feel much more comfortable than always having to appear as a humanoid. Garak, born and bred in the Cardassian tradition, clinging to that tradition in his exile, had just been less hesitant to impose his habitual mating behavior on Julian. Maybe now he had truly realized that he either had to restrain himself with humans or do without their companionship.
Realizing suddenly that Garak was scrutinizing him as he thought, Odo snapped back to the present. "Am I right in guessing that you and Julian shared some sort of emotional intimacy today?" he asked bluntly, feeling a new twinge of jealousy.
"Yes," Garak replied, watching the shape shifter closely.
"You can't tell me that you didn't get any enjoyment out of Julian's affection," Odo snapped.
"No," Garak said solemnly, "I can't tell you that."
"Would you still rather treat him like a slave and abuse him every time he refuses to submit to you?" Odo persisted.
Garak looked thoughtful for a moment as if the question had piqued his interest. "The variety of sexual bonds on Cardassia is larger than you might think, Constable," he said finally. "Affection, as you put it, is not precluded by contention, or by what you call abuse. And, as for whether I would prefer to continue to enslave Dr. Bashir--I suppose not, now that you mention it. After all, he's not a Cardassian, and some of his reactions to my offerings have been rather different from what I expected. But I must admit to a strong desire to own him. At
this stage of our relationship, it would certainly seem more...normal." Garak's face hardened suddenly. "I am fighting that desire, Constable, and incidentally accommodating you and
Major Kira. I would ask for the same courtesy from you."
Odo nodded once briefly, acknowledging Garak for the first time with something approaching respect. "If Dr. Bashir wants to see you, it's his business," he said as he turned to leave.
"I couldn't agree more," Garak smiled.
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