Julian Bashir took a deep sip from his tea as he contemplated his dining companion and considered where to take the conversation next. They'd covered the gamut of local gossip, literature, births and engagements on the station. What next? The taste of apple and cinnamon swirled on his tongue. His answer came to him as he took another sip of tea. He set the tea cup down gently, the china clinking softly against the saucer. "You know, there were a number of Cardassian dietary issues that were left out of the station's medical database."

Garak's smile was ill-concealed as he sipped at his own cup of rokassa juice. "Really? I can hardly imagine how that would have happened."

He didn't even bother trying to hide his own answering grin. "There's barely anything there, at least nothing that's not straight out of any basic medical text book. Common allergies, food intolerances, aphrodisiacs, there's none of it."

Garak chuckled and leaned back in his seat. His expression was jovial, but his eyes studied Julian intently. "Really, doctor, you should know better by now. When have Cardassians ever willingly given their enemies information that could be used against them in a military situation? The amount of intel the Cardassian government had gathered on humans back in the day was astounding. I can only imagine the volumes they've amassed since then."

"That's not the same thing!" Julian spluttered, leaning forward for emphasis. "I'm talking medical issues. Things that could save lives."

Garak nodded in agreement. "Or take them. Think, doctor. If you knew a large percentage of your war prisoners were allergic to a certain shellfish, and you laced a portion of the food with it. Mass panic. People dying, some would have no idea why." He tapped Julian's teacup with a finger. "Then there's cinnamon, considered by some to be a mild aphrodisiac."

Julian blushed. "I don't see how that applies to the military."

The smirk that spread across Garak's face went straight to his groin. "Sex is a form of interrogation."


"Indeed." Garak let the silence draw out for a lengthy moment between them before standing abruptly, picking up both his and Julian's empty plates. "Walk with me?"

Julian nodded, eager to see where the conversation was going.

Their dishes were disposed off and he followed Garak onto the Promenade. Instead of heading towards his shop, Garak turned towards the living quarters.

"I'm surprised you haven't asked the most obvious question, my dear."

He wasn't quite sure what the obvious question would be. There were a number that sprung to mind, and a number of things that he could say that would move the delicate flirtation that seemed to have sprung up between them forward. But, he knew better than to rush forward. That was the human approach and this – Garak – required a much more delicate approach. Over their many long meals together, he'd been slowly learning to think more like Garak, more Cardassian, so he could appreciate what Garak was getting at.

Julian smiled brightly back and shifted a step closer, not quite touching, but walking close enough that their shoulders occasionally brushed each other. It was a gesture of compromise, the human need for closeness restrained by the Cardassian need for propriety. "You're right," he said. "I haven't."

"You're becoming quite the Cardassian," Garak teased. His fingers idly twined with Julian's, holding loosely for a moment before letting go. Apparently he wasn't the only one willing to compromise.

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"As it was meant." Garak paused outside of his quarters. The doors opened for him and he ushered Julian in ahead of him.

This was not the first time he'd been to Garak's quarters, but it was perhaps the first time he'd been so bold while there. He turned and let his hands settle low on Garak's hips, just above one of the larger bone ridges. In his mind, he played back the few, very few, times they'd kissed. Every time, Julian had been the one to make the first move, so he assumed this would be much the same.

"What about using sex for pleasure? I'm sure they allow that on Cardassia."

Garak bridged the space between them, moving until he was toe-to-toe with Julian. Reaching up, he ran a thumb just below Julian's chin. "For Cardassians – most Cardassians, mind you, there are the usual deviants and hedonists – sex isn't about pleasure, its politics. It's a game, with rules, and a clear winner and loser."

The sheer concept of such a ritualized structure fascinated Julian. He wondered if it was similar to Bajoran sexual practices, "Teach me."

Interest was evident in Garak's steadfast gaze, and it only seemed to increase with Julian's insistence. "You're not Cardassian, Julian. The rules don't apply to you."

"But they do to you." He leaned into Garak and placed a single, chaste kiss on Garak's lips. The kiss lingered until Julian slowly lowered himself back to his feet. He looked up at Garak and hoped his eyes weren't too pleading. "Please. I want to know what you like. I want to know what you expect. Show me?"

A soft chuckle escaped Garak's lips. He ran a hand through Julian's hair and gave in with an audible sigh. "Alright, but don't complain if you don't like it. You're going to lose, and quite frequently at that. It doesn't mean anything. We're not keeping score."

Garak caressed Julian's face again, this time letting his fingers play against Julian's lips. He opened his lips a fraction and Garak pushed inside, taking the unspoken invitation. Julian sucked lightly, moaning at the heated look Garak shot him.

"Your first loss. Second, actually, if you count the fact that you propositioned me. You automatically relented to my advances. It's obvious that you want me to win."

Julian laved at the tip of Garak's index finger as it slipped from his mouth. "I do."

"Good. So do I."

A touch to the back of Julian's head and slight upward pressure on the small of his back was all it took to guide Julian up into a kiss. Garak's tongue twined with his, the taste of cinnamon mixing with rokassa. He twined his arms around Garak's neck, practically melting against the Cardassian.

He was panting for breath by the time they broke away, slightly disturbed at how serene Garak looked still. "Third loss," Garak said. "You let me take control, placing yourself in the role of the subservient." Another kiss landed on his cheek, followed by another and another, trailing under his chin and down to his neck. He tilted his neck, baring his throat to Garak. The kisses stopped halfway down his neck, ending in a hard bite that made him moan and writhe against Garak, already half-hard and Garak had barely touched him.

"You lose again. Surrender is in your nature, my dear."

Julian smiled. He toyed with the fastenings on Garak's shirt and wondered if it would be ruining the game if he started unfastening some of them. "I don't mind surrender, if it's to you."

"I rather like your surrender." Garak's fingers dug tight into his skin as they settled low on his hips and dug slow circles into the small of his back. There was a definite possessive taint to his gaze as he watched Julian. His fingers played with the fastenings on Garak's shirt for another second before he gave in and popped the first hook.

"Another loss," Garak whispered, his voice lower in Julian's ear, lips brushing against the skin of Julian's ear. "You're the first to escalate." The tailor's nimble fingers make quick work of their clothes, sliding Julian's uniform off almost before he notices Garak moving. Garak bats his hands away as he tries to help with Garak's clothing, and in the end it seems much more efficient that way.

"In a real game," Garak tells him as he pulls off his shirt, revealing a well-muscled, green-scaled chest, "you'd disrobe us both, but in human fashion, I thought we'd go with the more expeditious option today."

One thought fills his mind as Garak's pants fall away, and that is that the man is truly magnificent. Slight pressure on his shoulders is all it takes to get him to drop to his knees, licking his lips expectantly and the nearly silent groan that earns him is all the encouragement he needs. He runs one hand over Garak's erection, marveling at how soft the scales feel, and yet they definitely are scales – thicker than the flesh of a human penis, tougher, rigged and ribbed in a pattern much like the rest of the Cardassian's body.

Experimentally, Julian flicks his tongue over the head. It tastes different, much as he expected, and feels slightly warmer than a human's erection. Curiosity satisfied for the moment, Julian wraps his lips around Garak and swallows him down until the head of his erection tickles the back of his throat. He could get used to this taste. It's not at all unpleasant, nor nearly as bitter as a human would be. Julian bobs his head a few more times, showing off the few meager tricks he'd managed to learn from past male lovers before Garak pulls him away.

He's pleased to note that Garak is finally losing that cool composure of his. The heat in his eyes has jumped to a near-volcanic level, and it's obvious what he has in mind next. Julian smiled and licked his lips, more for show than any real benefit. The look Garak shoots him is proof enough. They're nearing the end of their games.

"Another loss for giving in."

Garak helped Julian to his feet, his hand absently squeezing Julian's ass as he stands. For lack of anything better to do with his mouth, Julian kissed him, hungry and fierce. If he'd been fooled by Garak's cool exterior, here was proof. They were both moaning now, near frantic with need. They stumbled backwards towards the bed. Julian felt the mattress hit the back of his knees and he pulled, wrapping his legs around Garak's waist as they fell.

"Loss. You let me dominate."

Julian grabbed the back of Garak's head and pulled him back down into the kiss. He moaned as Garak pushed his legs up higher, positioning himself between him. A slick finger circled his entrance, toying with him for a long maddening minute before finally pressing in. It was joined quickly by another and another. Garak pulled away, leaning back to watch him as his fingers worked inside of him, loosening Julian. He was making the most obscene noises as he writhed underneath Garak, gasping and mewling with no sense of shame.

"Loss, again. You let me dominate."

Julian stared pleadingly up at Garak. "No more games."

"Beg," Garak ordered.

"Please." He starts. Garak's fingers crook inside of him and he nearly jumps off the bed. "Ah! Ah! Oh! Oh, God! Oh, Allah, please. Garak. Please." Garak's watching him like he's the most important thing in the world, staring at him, which only makes his face flush further. He must be burning up. It feels like he is. It feels like he should be on fire, his whole body on flame. "I need you. Please, Garak. Please. Take me. I lose. I want to lose. Fuck me. Dominate me. Make me yours."

He's never seen Garak smile the way he does now. Julian imagines this is what Garak would look like if he won his citizenship back to Cardassian. He enters Julian in a slow, measured thrust, and even with all the preparation, he still feels big inside of Julian. The scaling feels incredible and he shivers as Garak slides in, inch by inch, until finally he comes to a rest, their hips touching.

"You know, that's another loss, and again for letting me in, for emotion, for wanton behavior."

Julian wrapped himself around Garak. "I really don't give a damn."

Then Garak moved and all he could think about was how good it felt and how very glad he was that the quarters on the ship were soundproof. Julian came in seconds. Garak, for all his calm façade, didn't last much longer. He thrust inside Julian for several minutes, grunting softly with exertion, before coming, slamming forward hard enough as he did so to nearly make Julian come a second time.

Bashir waited for the stars to clear from his eyes before speaking. "For losing horribly, I found that quite enjoyable."

Garak chuckled and pulled him close to lie against the Cardassian's chest, one scaled arm holding him possessively in place. "Of course, you would. You won."

It took the statement a minute to process through Bashir's brain. "Pardon?"

One of Garak's hands started absently playing with the hair at the base of his neck. "It's the ending that decides it all. I'm completely enamored with you, your dedicated slave in love. That makes you the winner."

Bashir smiled. Even without looking, he could tell the kind of fond look Garak was directing at him. "In that case, a tie would be more accurate."

"Who's keeping score?"