Garak knew better than to think that this would ever work. Cardassia and the Federation had never made the best of bedfellows, and that was true both literally and figuratively. Even if they completely ignored the quagmire of political differences that kept their two races firmly apart, there was still a galaxy worth of reasons why they shouldn't be together. Gender itself would have been an issue in less modern times, or at least that was true for the humans. Their race had brushed past that social stigmata well over a century past, and while the Cardassians did still have some taboo on the subject, Garak considered himself old enough and wise enough to see past that. Besides, given who they were, the fact that they were both male was the least of the rejections against their relationship. The only reason it's lasted this long is because they're both too stubborn to actually listen to all the reasons why they shouldn't be together.

Race had been the largest issue in Garak's mind. Cardassians were used to hard lives – from the constant state of war to the very nature of their skin, they were hard creatures. Perhaps that was why he found himself drawn almost magnetically to the soft-skinned creatures surrounding him. They would have been a rare treasure on his world in the old days, something strange and exotic, like a fragile flower so easily crushed beneath his palm. If soft-skin was all that he needed, anyone would do in theory but there was more to their current situation than just an attraction to exotic appearance. And yes, he did admit that any human who engaged in the carnal with a Cardassian had to be considered somewhat aberrant by his or her fellows. On Cardassia, captures of war had long accustomed his people to exotic 'pets' and an almost accepted exploration of foreign bodies.

No, that tainted need that dwelled in Garak's body went farther than the shallow obsessions of a warlord for his captives. He was tempted by a creature, a man, that was soft both inside and out, and that balance, so removed from his own warrior-bred and bound mindset, was what truly kept them together despite Garak's firm assurance that this would all come to an end one day soon. That didn't matter, at least not in the moment. He sought peace, more a subconscious need than a conscious drive, and in his current lover he had that.

There was no doubt in Garak's mind that his lover was dangerous, or at least that he could be when needed, but he was not a fighter by nature. Far from it. In fact, one could go as far as to say that their natures were in direct opposition, himself as a former assassin and his lover as a doctor, a healer. Therein lay the greatest draw, and he found in the quiet times they spent together that his lover's patient, caring nature was a salve on his very soul.

"Garak?" A sleep-addled voice emerged from beneath a haven of covers, accompanied by a protrusion of elbow as Julian turned in bed.

"Is there something you need?" Setting the now-empty crystal decanter he had been sipping from aside, Garak rose from the couch, casting his eyes over the rumple of blankets on their bed. Even in the darkened solitude of his quarters, their quarters really, the deferential tone of his daily occupation still managed to creep into his voice when he wasn't paying attention.

A hand escaped from the cocoon of blankets, followed by a bare shoulder as Julian half-sat up. "Come to bed." An almost-sullen pout painted Julian's features as he stared through the dark towards Garak.

Clothes were shed as Garak traversed the room, folded neatly and set on a chair near the bed. He circled around to the far side, his side, a small smile quirking on his lips at the fact that they had sides. The bed was deliriously warm as he slipped under the covers. Rather than shy away from the chilled hands that brushed his side, Julian gathered them closer, draping Garak's arms around himself as he snuggled back into Garak's chest. Pressing his lips briefly to the neck bared before him, Garak held his lover tight in his arms. A low murmur of contentment slipped from the human's lips as he started to fall back asleep in Garak's arms.

Temptation incarnate was held tight in his arms so it was little wonder that Garak's hands started moving, entirely of their own volition of course. More of those tiny little sounds meant that Julian was moving towards awake once again. Julian rolled, blinking owlishly as he threw a pale leg over a green-scaled hip, a small smile slipping on his face as their mouths met in a gentle clash of teeth.

Garak was the first to draw back, capturing the warm hand that brushed against his chest in one of his own.

"Are you opening early tomorrow?" Soft hair brushed his chin as Julian leaned down to place a kiss over their entwined hands.

Garak pretended to consider the question. Really, he knew what his choice would be, assuming Julian was amiable. He had no urgent orders at the moment, nothing that couldn't wait until the late morning. "I don't have to."

"Neither do I." Julian's lips trailed up, imploring. Teeth grazed the protruding bone at Garak's shoulder, a definitive sign that they were both amiable to the same activity.

Garak rolled, a simple shift of weight turning them until Julian was on his back, arms reaching up to bring their mouths closer. As always Garak marveled at the easy surrender as Julian gave in, gave him permission for whatever action Garak might decide to take. In a different time, before he came to the station, such trust would have been a death-sentence for Julian. All it would take was a slight application of pressure on some of the softer parts of Julian's body and... but he was a different man then.

Instead, he turned his thoughts to more practical matters, considering his lover's busy profession. "What about your patients?" He was obligated, morally, to ask, even as he let his weight press down on Julian, bringing their skin tight together, their hips coming into delicious alignment. Julian's head rolled back as he arched, pressing them further together, giving Garak momentary access to run his hands along the human's spine. If they stayed this way, Garak knew from experience that there would be little scales scattered across Julian's skin, little dips and ridges mirroring Garak's skin, tiny marks of himself that tingled beneath his palm.

"If there's an emergency, they know where to find me."

A dark smirk crept across his face and Garak rolled his hips, thrusting hard between Julian's legs. "I'm certain they do."

Julian swatted him lightly for the implication, his face mirroring a gentler version of Garak's smile. He stretched, skin rubbing softly against Garak's scales as he reached out for the small crystal vial they kept on the table beside the bed. A small pool of pale red liquid spilled across Julian's palm before Garak took the vial away, replacing it on the table with a small smile, the only outward sign of his pleasure as Julian took him in hand, rubbing the oil onto Garak's previously ignored erection. Garak placed a quick kiss on Julian's forehead in thanks as Julian finished, easily lifting pale hips to align their bodies. Slowly, gently, he slipped his way inside, eyes trained for far more malicious observation turned to the task of assuring himself that there was no sign of pain on the human's face as Garak entered him.

A soft sigh brushed away Garak's brief worries once he was fully implanted. Julian smiled up at him then, and Garak thought it was worth being exiled a thousand times for the chance to stay here.

"Please." Julian looked up at him with trusting eyes, his face flushed with a need that matched Garak's own.

"Anything for you," Garak promised quietly.

They moved together in the dark, rough friction sliding through velvet heat, soft warmth giving way beneath him as he pressed forward relentlessly, seeking the perfect balance between their bodies. Quiet noises of pleasure feel from Julian's lips, muted by the press of Garak's hungry lips. Here, like this, Garak knew it didn't matter how long it lasted. He had this, this perfect balance, this infinite peace, this pleasure of being, and from that he had all that he needed. It didn't matter that they were two males, a human and a Cardassian, their people fighting on different sides of a war with them stuck in between. Nothing mattered aside from the soft gasps that rose to his ears every time he moved, touched, kissed.

All that mattered was that Julian was his now and he'd make his own war, fight every nation in all four quadrants to make sure that this relationship of theirs, no matter how controversial or flawed, would work.