Truth Or Dare   
by Olivia Monteith 
Rated PG-13 

This is only my second story to be posted, and it's  actually a cheap Christmas gift to my friend, Jen.  All of these guys belong to Paramount, with the exception of Fred, who belongs to Jen.  Feedback is very much appreciated and craved. Thanks, Olivia 

Truth Or Dare   

"Okay, Garak, That's the fourth game you've beaten me at.  It would seem I have no aptitude at Cardassian games of any  

"Really, Doctor, one would think that if anyone on this station would make a worthy opponent for me it would be a genetically engineered genius. After all, Chief O'Brien seems to think it has some affect on your dart game, and  that seems to be quite a simplistic sport."  

"Actually, it's harder than it seems. Quark can't play it."   

"Yes, but, Ferengi have notoriously bad eyesight. I tried it once, trying to figure out your fascination with it.  I found it very easy and extremely dull.  Tell me, are all Earth games so simple?"   

"No, there are some games from Earth that take lifetimes to master," Bashir said a bit defensively.  

"That's what you said about chess, Doctor. I believe that I won three consecutive games just last week against Nog, and I won two against the lovely Lieutenant Dax, although I must admit she gave me a thorough pummeling in the first three. I think that of all of the Earth games I've played, chess is the one I can appreciate the most. It does take cunning, strategy, and manipulation of your opponent."   

"I think I see the problem. You don't like Earth games because they are like humans, straightforward, by the rule books, with a minimum of manipulation and discomfort for all players. Cardassian games are more....  brutal and bloodthirsty."   

"Doctor..." Garak began, but he was cut off by a wave of Julian's hand.   

"No let me finish, Garak. It would seem to me that people of different species like games that are like their people as a whole. For example, Quark has found that he adores  Monopoly, because it's a game much like the Ferengi philosophy. The point is to corner the market and come out with the most money. Dax admits to a weakness for the game of Life, and if any species personifies that game it's a Trill. Worf likes Earth games that associate with war and tactical matters, such as Risk..."   

"Is there a point to this, Doctor, or did you just want the chance to compare me to Quark and Commander Worf?" Garak asked, looking a little disgusted.   

In a slightly annoyed tone Bashir said, "I was getting to that.  As I was saying, I believe that there has to be an Earth game you would like, something that is similar to the Cardassian mindset...."  he trailed away looking  thoughtful. "Something challenging."   

"What you are saying is that there might be a game from  your home planet that would appeal to me because of it's Cardassian qualities. "   

"Yes, now all we have to do is determine what those qualities are, what the Cardassians are known for?"   

"We are known for record keeping of course, strategy, fact finding, interrogation..."   

"That's it!" Bashir exclaimed. "Of course. Truth or Dare."   

"Truth or Dare, Doctor?"   

"Yes, it's a game that Earth children play."  Garak rolled his eyes. "It doesn't sound as if it could be all that complex to me if you *children* play it."   

"Oh, don't discount it yet, it can get quite brutal.  Besides, I remember someone telling me once, 'An open mind, the essence of intellect,'" he finished, with a rueful smile.   

"Well, if you're going to throw my own words back at me. How do you play?"   

"The traditional rules are that one player asks another player if they would prefer a question, or a challenge, hence the name. If the player finds that they don't wish to answer the question asked they have the option of accepting a dare, and vice versa."   

"Seems rather pointless to me," Garak mumbled.   

"Garak, I've just played four Cardassian games that seemed pretty pointless to me, and got my ass handed to me in the process. The least you can do is try this game, especially since I went to the extra effort to find something you would like."   

"All right, Doctor. Go on."   

Bashir looked at his friend a moment before continuing, "Now, you have to tell the truth, no matter what...." He was interrupted again by the Cardassian.   

"Doctor, I should tell you that there are some questions that you might ask that everyone on this station would be better off if I did not tell you the truth."   

"Fine, then we'll limit our question to those of a personal nature, nothing that would have to do with our respective organizations. Now, if you wish to not answer the question then you have to do what you are dared to do, and if you accept the dare first and find that you don't want to do whatever is asked of you then you must answer whatever question that replaces the dare. Dares are limited to things that are not life threatening, or remotely dangerous..."   

"Please, Doctor I'm not a Klingon."   

"However they can be as humiliating as your twisted imagination has to offer. The same with the questions.  Is all of that clear?"   

"Yes, doctor, but I must state in the interest of fair play that this does seem to be a bit one sided. Your life may be an open book, whereas I have never been one to share information about myself. On the other side of the coin, I doubt that there is very little that I have not experienced, and you are still young yet, there are many things you have yet to do. Don't you think it would quickly become boring if all you do is answer questions and all I do is accept dares?"   

"You have a point, I suppose we should adapt the rules a bit. Okay, for every dare you must accept two questions, and for every question I answer I must accept two dares.  And to make it a bit more interesting, we'll take our game out to the Promenade, say, Quarks?" 
"Agreed, Doctor." 

The two men settled themselves at a table and placed orders for drink, then Garak turned to Bashir and said,  "Well, Doctor, where should we begin?"   

"I suppose I should go first since I'm more familiar with the game, So, Garak, truth or dare?"   

"I may as well get a question out of the way, go ahead."   

Julian looked thoughtful a moment, then his features brightened and his eyes lit up. The affect was not lost on Garak.  

"Garak, how old are you? Specifically."   

"Thirty five oolats."   

"What?"  Bashir asked looking confused.   

"That's two questions, Doctor. Do you get a penalty?"   

"No, of course not."   

"That's a shame. It would make the game more interesting.  I believe it is my turn, Doctor. Truth or dare?"  

Shaking his head to clear it, Julian said, "Truth."   

"Very well, Doctor.  How old were you when you had your first sexual experience?"   

Julian stared at Garak expressionless for a few moments, before saying, "You catch on rather quickly, don't you?"  

"I've been told that, yes. Answer the question, Doctor."   

Julian cleared his throat, and his gaze dropped to his hands as a flush of red crept up to his face from his collar. He squirmed in his seat and mumbled something unintelligible.  "I'm sorry, Doctor, unlike our Ferengi friends my hearing is not that acute.  What did you say?"   

"I believe I will take a dare on this one," Julian glared at Garak.   

"Very well. I dare you to answer the question."  

Julian said more loudly and indignantly, "That's not how the game works, Garak."   

"Why not?"   

"It just doesn't, pick something else."   

With an exasperated sigh Garak replied,  "Very well, Doctor." His eyes traveled around the bar and came to rest on Leeta. A slow wicked smile came to his lips that made Julian's blood temperature drop. "Doctor, look at the color of Leeta's lipstick. Isn't that an awful shade?"   

"I suppose, as lipstick colors go. Why?"   

"I'd like to see how that color would look on you. I dare you to go over there and ask her if you might borrow it, and then put it on." 
If Julian's face was flushed before, it was ash white now.  "You've got to be kidding."   

The Cardassian only shook his head and smiled in that very alarming way of his that would frighten Klingon warriors.   

"I can't believe what I've gotten myself into," Julian muttered as he slowly rose from his seat. He walked over to the bar where Leeta, and Major Kira were talking and waited for Leeta to ask what she could get for him.  Blushing a deep red again, Julian said, "Nothing to drink," He looked back to the table where Garak sat with that damn grin on his face. "I just need to borrow your lipstick a moment, do you have it on you?" He asked hoping she wouldn't.   

Leeta looked at Julian who refused to meet either her or the Major's gaze, then she answered slowly, "Yes,.. yes I do." Quickly searching her person she came up with a small tube marked Sunrise Surprise and handed it to him.   

Taking a deep, fortifying breath, the doctor uncapped it and began to clumsily apply it to his lips, trying to ignore the dumbfounded stares of Kira, Leeta and several Ferengi waiters.  

"Thank you," he murmured as he handed it back, before walking quickly back to his seat. As he let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, he whispered furiously, "Well...?"   

Garak appeared to be examining his face, and reached across the table to wipe off a bit of lipstick that was below Julian's lip with his thumb, before saying,  "No, definitely not your color," and handed Julian a napkin.   

Julian scrubbed at his lips harshly. He looked at Garak and asked, "Did I get it all off?"  

The Cardassian took Julian's chin in one hand and a fresh napkin in the other and dabbed at the corner of his companion's mouth, then turning his face from one side to the other, seemed satisfied with the results.  Laying the napkin aside he said calmly, "Your turn, and in the interest of saving time, I'll take a dare."   

Julian narrowed his eyes as he tried to come up with a dare that would avenge him. His eyes rested on Major Kira who, like Leeta was still staring at him from the bar. The corner of his mouth quirked up in a smile.  "Very well, Garak, I dare you to go over to the bar and kiss Major Kira."   

Garak looked nonplussed as he responded, "I thought the rules stated that it couldn't be anything life threatening."   

"Are you afraid of her, Garak?"   

"As Bajoran women go, yes. If you're wise, you would be too."   

"I don't think she'll kill you, Garak. I'll even call Constable Odo at the first sign of trouble."   

Garak regarded him coolly, and asked, "Why, so he can finish what she started? You know as well as I do how he feels about her."   

"Are you saying you would rather not accept the dare?"  Bashir challenged.   

"No, I believe I can accomplish what you have asked." The Cardassian rose and walked over to the bar with all the grace of a Terran snake sliding gently through the grass.  He approached the Bajoran women at the bar and spoke to them in low tones that Bashir could not hear. After a few moments conversation, the three of them smiled, the two women both nodded and then very much to Julian's surprise, Garak leaned over and kissed first Leeta and then taking Kira's hand, kissed her as well, a little to the left of her lips. He spoke a few more words to them, and then made his way back to the table, where he sat down and calmly took a sip of his kanaar.   

Julian stared at him wide eyed, and amazed. "How did you do that?" he demanded.   

"Really, Doctor, one shouldn't kiss and tell."  

"Garak! What did you say to them?"   

"If you must know, I told them that today was a Cardassian holiday, much like the Terran Valentines day. Our customs are slightly different, in that instead of sending flowers and gifts to only our loved ones, we kiss the most beautiful people in our presence. Oh, and by the way, Doctor,..." He leaned over the small table and kissed Julian squarely on the mouth.   

"What are you doing!?" Julian said in a startled tone.   

"Adhering to an old Cardassian custom that I just made up.  Beside, the ladies are watching."   

Sure enough, Kira and Leeta were looking, only now the smiles on their faces were frozen there from shock instead of being pleased that Garak had thought so highly of their looks.   

"Besides, I had to see if I had any of that hideous lipstick on me, if there had been any on your lips after I kissed you then I would know."   

"You could have just asked," Julian said trying to hide the affect that Garak's kiss had had on him.   

"I believe it is my turn again. What is your preference this time, Doctor?"   

Julian considered a few seconds before saying, "I may as well get this other dare out of the way."  His stomach fluttered as he watched Garak's eyes travel around the bar.  

"Ah," he said looking rather pleased. Julian followed his gaze to see Dax and Sisko entering the bar.   

"Ohhh noo," Julian moaned as he dropped his head into his hands. Garak could never resist the chance to tease him about his infatuation with the willowy Trill.  "No, Garak, please not anything to do with Dax."   

"Not at all, Doctor. I'm merely going to challenge you to go over there.... and polish Captain Sisko's head."   

Julian's head jerked up. "You've got to be kidding."  

Garak cocked an eyeridge. "I assure you that I am not. Do you you wish to decline the challenge?"   

The human thought for a moment, and remembered the first question Garak had asked him. "No," he said quickly. 

He stood on shaky legs and went over to the captain's table. He paused as he reached it, at a loss for words.   

"Yes, Doctor?" Sisko prompted.  

"Uhm... Captain.. I..I..noticed that you seem to have... a dry scalp," he said as inspiration took him.   

"A dry scalp.." Sisko repeated dubiously.  

"Yes, sir. If you allow this to go on, it could become quite irritated."  

Sisko glanced at Dax, who shrugged and smiled in that amused way she had. 
"And just what do you suggest I do about it, Doctor?" Sisko asked as he once again met Julian's eyes.   

"One moment, sir," the doctor answered as he rushed over to a nearby replicator and retrieved a bottle of oil and a soft cloth. He then proceeded to pour a bit of the oil onto the cloth and rub it into Sisko's scalp. Dax had to cover her mouth with her napkin to keep from laughing out loud at the sight. Captain Sisko looked mildly annoyed and slightly flustered to be sitting in a bar having his bare palate buffed by the young doctor.   

Bashir quickly finished what he was doing and meekly handed  Sisko the oil and the cloth. "Just use this every morning after your shower," he said quietly before rushing back  to the relative haven of his chair.   

Sisko looked at Dax and asked, "Was he wearing lipstick?"   

"Not a very good shade either," she replied.   

"There, satisfied?" he asked irritably as he sat down.   

"Why, yes, Doctor. I have to congratulate you. You handled that in an almost Cardassian manner."  Garak raised his glass in a sort of salute to Julian's deviousness and took a sip.   

"My turn," Julian said with relish.   

"Very well, I suppose you've earned it."   

"All right. Now, how old are you in relation to Earth years."  

"Older than you."   

"Answer the question, Garak."   

"What is this fascination you seem to have for my age, Doctor? Do you intend to gloat? I can assure you that for a Cardassian I am in the prime years of my life."   

"I didn't ask if you were older than me or in the prime of your life, I asked how old you were in Earth years," Bashir said with malicious amusement in his eyes.   

For the first time since the beginning of the game Garak seemed a little bit unsettled. "Really, Doctor.  Cardassians respect age, when one grows older, they grow wiser as well.  It's not a preoccupation my culture shares with yours."   

"Then you shouldn't mind telling me," Julian added, leaning his chin in his hand.  

Garak took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then said very quietly, "In Earth years, I am approximately... fifty five." He looked up to find the doctor looking surprised.  "What, you knew I was some what older than I looked."   

"It's not that, it's just that I just realized your only four years younger than my father."   

"If you're finished marveling that I can still walk without assistance, we can get on with this ... childish game."   

"Yes, yes, of course."   

"Now, Doctor, I believe you have to answer a question for me. I'll repeat my first question. How old were you when you first had sex?"   

Julian's face flushed again before he let it drop back into his hands. "Oh, Allah, Garak. We're back to that one?"  

"Yes, and you have to answer it this time."  

Julian lifted his head and asked, "Can you keep a secret?"  before he opened his eyes to look at his friend.   

"Really, Doctor. You're not talking to Commander Dax or Chief O'Brien. If any one on this station can keep a secret, it's me."   

"Of course, I must have forgotten who I was talking to.  Well, to be quite honest I was always too busy trying to be the best at everything when I was younger, and during medical school I hardly had time, what with studying and all of that,  besides I've never been very good in social situations...." He realized he was rambling. "Twenty five.  After Palis and I were engaged." When he looked up at Garak he expected to see amusement in his friends eyes, but was met with compassionate understanding instead.   

Garak smiled kindly and said simply, "Truth," although he already knew what the question would be.   

"How old were you?" Bashir asked a bit shyly.   

"Too young. Cardassians feel that the older a person is before they explore that avenue, the better. As a matter of fact, it's not uncommon for us to reserve that part of ourselves for marriage."   

"It used to be that way for humans as well.  Things have changed quite a bit over the last few centuries. Your turn."  

"If it's not too personal, how many?"   

"No, that's the point of the game, isn't it?  To make the other answer questions that they don't want to answer, to make them squirm," Julian replied, his eyes were locked to the table top, but Garak could see the hard glint in them.   

"Doctor, this game was your suggestion, and you don't have to answer me. I'm not asking to see you humiliated.  I'm asking as a friend, and besides, you do have the option of selecting a dare."   

"No you'll just come back to it later.  I've been with three women. Palis, Leeta, and a woman on Risa when Leeta and I went through the Rite of Separation. And how many women have you been with?" he asked meeting Garak's gaze with a challenging glare.  

Garak's eyes never left his as he said, "Only one."  

Defiance was forgotten as Julian's jaw dropped in shock.  "You’re joking."   

"I wish I was, Doctor. If I hadn't been married to her I would never have been with her, either." he deadpanned before lifting his drink to his lips.   

For once Julian was utterly speechless. "You were married?"   

"That is what I said, Doctor. Weren't you paying attention?"   

"What happened?"   

"That's another question. We really should discuss penalties for this game."  

"Garak, you can't just drop something like that on me and expect me to just go on with the game."   

"And why not? So, I was married. I understand marriage is still common practice among humans as well."   

"Yes, I just never imagined you to be married."   

"I don't see why not. After all, children are highly valued among my people. The only way to have a legal heir is to be married. Now, Doctor..."   

Still dumbfounded and wanting to get to the next turn, Julian blurted, "Yes, go on."   

"Come with me if you please, Doctor."   

Befuddled, Julian got up and rushed to catch up with the Cardassian's retreating back. Their path led to Garak's shop, where the tailor entered his code and walked through the door before the were completely opened. "Well, come on, Doctor. Come in and take off that uniform."   

"Excuse me?!"   

"You heard me, take off that dreadful uniform.  You can go in the changing room. I'll be with you in a moment."   

Julian stood a few moments in the tiny, curtained room where he had hidden six years earlier, listening to two Klingon women plotting, and where his friendship with the Cardassian had been cemented. He was not sure why, but, he did remove his coveralls and the grey turtle neck, and was standing in the grey shorts and t-shirt that were standard Starfleet issue when Garak appeared.   

"I'm sorry, Doctor but those will have to go as well."   

"What?! Garak, I think now would be a good time to tell me what you expect of me."   

Garak held up a hanger from which hung the skimpiest, cheapest, green lace teddy that Garak had in his shop. "Put this on. I think it should fit. Oh, and here is the garter belt. I'll be outside if you have any trouble."   

"Garak, wait! I can't wear this!"   

"I do have other sizes..."   

"No, I mean that I won't wear this! This is preposterous!"   

"Doctor, if you don't accept this dare you will be breaking the rules."   

"Damn the rules! Why would you even want me to put this on any way?"   

"So you can model it for me in front of my shop, of course."   

Julian almost fainted dead away. "No, Garak. I can't...that's too much to ask..."   

"If you like I could come up with something else for you to wear, or I could try to find a suitable replacement dare...."  

Julian didn't trust that look on the tailor's face, he was fairly certain that there were things far more twisted and humiliating in that mind than his, best not to provoke them.  "How long?" He asked scowling.   

"Oh, say five minutes. We do want to get on with the game after all, don't we?"   

"You have no idea," Julian mumbled under his breath. Five minutes would give him ample time to think of a revenge.   Garak smiled and stepped back through the curtain into the main room of the shop.  Julian couldn't even bring himself to look in the mirror once he had the lacy contraption on. Seething inside he stalked out into the shop.   

Garak's face lit up when he saw the doctor, "Ah, Doctor, there you are. Quite flattering I assure you. I would say that that color suits you far better than Leeta's lipstick."   

"Shut up, and let's get this over with," Julian growled.  Mercifully, it was rather late in the station's evening, and there were few people walking the Promenade at this hour. This is not to say that it was completely empty, there was Garak of course standing in the doorway of the shop, with that maddening smile, and there was a tall, furry alien who paused in his journey to Quark's and asked  
in a low voice, "How much, Doctor?"   

Bashir's scowl grew deeper and he replied menacingly, "You couldn't afford it, Fred. Move along."   

The only other being on the station to see Julian in his current state of disgrace was none other than Constable Odo.   

"Dr. Bashir, what in the name of the Prophets do you think you are doing?  We do have dress code you know."   

"It's a long story, you see Garak and I are playing a game..." he began, but, Odo cut him off with a wave of his hand.   

"I don't question what 'games' you play with Mr. Garak during your off time, just at least have the decency to go to private quarters to do it. Is that clear?"   

"Yes, Constable."  

"Doctor, your time is up. My aren't your cheeks a becoming color?"   

"I was just thinking that my face might be this color permanently," he fumed.   

"Well, those cheeks too."   

At this point, the good doctor had had just about enough.  He pushed past Garak to the dressing room, and hurriedly began to remove his outrageous costume. In his haste, he ripped the material, throwing it to the ground. He pulled on his uniform and stormed out of the dressing room. "Put it on my account," he said as he left the shop with out affording the Cardassian a second glance. 

* * * * * * * * * *  

He was stretched out on his couch, slugging back his second scotch in as many minutes when the door chimed. He ignored it, and allowed it to ring twice more, and then there was silence for about a minute. Then the door slid aside, and Garak came in uninvited.   

"You left before taking your turn."   

"That's because I don't want to play any more," he answered, fully aware that he sounded like a spoiled child.  Maybe he was, but, in his opinion, things had gotten wildly out of control.   

"I would have thought that you would be eager for revenge."   

"You would only come back with something ten times worse.  What would be the point in doing that to myself?"   

"I apologize, Doctor. Perhaps I went a bit too far..."   

"You think?" Julian retorted sarcastically as he rose to retrieve another drink from the replicator.   

Garak watched him, deeply regretting that he had caused his friend so much embarrassment. "Maybe we could continue the game with another revision of the rules."   

"What kind of revision?" Julian asked, not really wanting to hear it or anything else from the tailor.   

"Instead of Truth or Dare, we might change it so that if you don't want to answer a question, you have to take a drink of your choice. No more dares."   

"I'm not certain I care to see you drunk, though I hope that I will be soon."   

"I promise that things will not get out of hand again," he said raising his hand, palm out in a solemn oath.   

There were still some things he had wanted to ask Garak, and the scotch had already begun to numb his anger.  Reluctantly he agreed.  

The two made themselves comfortable on either side of the table, each with a bottle and a glass at their side.  "I believe that it is your turn," Garak gently prodded.  

"Right," Bashir said, feeling faintly muzzy. His mind raced over the questions that he had wanted to ask, and found that he couldn't remember many of them. One did pop to the front of his mind, though.  "Did you have any children?"   

"One, a daughter."  Julian nodded his head before saying, "Your turn."   

"Why are you so curious about my personal life?"  

Julian frowned. Why was he so interested? "I'm not sure. I suppose I never could resist a mystery."   

"I suppose that's as good a reason as any. Your turn."   

"What happened to your wife and daughter."   

Garak stared at the human a moment, considering what, if anything, to tell him.  Finally he reached over and poured himself a glass of kanaar.   

"What makes you think I won't ask again later?"   

"If you ask questions like that too often I might be in a more receptive mood later. My turn."  

Bashir shrugged his shoulders loosely, "Go ahead."   

"Is there anyone on this station that you care for more than anyone else?"   

Julian considered a moment, eyeing his bottle, then stated, "Yes."   


Smiling slyly he said, "That's another question now isn't it?"   

"You're right of course.  Go ahead, Doctor."   

Bashir's expression changed from sly to highly amused. "Was sex with your wife so frightful that you never wanted to try it again?" he asked with a barely contained snicker.   

"I never said that I hadn't had sex with anyone else."   

"Yes, you did. You said in Quark's that you had only been with one woman and if you hadn't been married to her...."  

Realization dawned on him and Garak enjoyed watching the color suffuse his feature once again.   

Bashir dropped his face down to his hands again and said, "Great, now I'm embarrassing myself. I think I'll have another drink, now."   

"Are you sure that's wise, Doctor?"   

"No, you’re probably right. I've already got two up on you.  Go ahead."   

"Have you never been involved with another man before, Doctor?"   

Julian smiled and answered, "No, that would be yet another experience you've had the pleasure of and I have not."   

"What a shame," the tailor commented, sounding a bit wistful.  

By this point Julian was beyond noticing, though.  "My turn," he said in a sing song voice. "What happened to your family, Garak?"   

Garak sighed and reached again for his bottle. "You are persistent."   

"Just trying to even things up a bit."   

Garak swallowed the kanaar a bit faster than was wise and set the glass aside before saying, "Really, Doctor. You should be careful. One might think you were trying to get me drunk so you could take advantage of me."   

"Hmmph,... As if I could. Or would."  

It did not escape Garak's notice that Julian had not been shocked by his remark. "It's my turn. So, Julian, why haven't you ever been with a man?"   

"Just never been approached by one I guess, at least not until Fred propositioned me on the Promenade this evening."  

Garak bit his tongue to keep in under control. Could it be that Julian had not noticed his blatant flirting all these years?   

"My turn."   

"Yes, go ahead, Doctor."   

"What happened to your wife and daughter?"   

"Really, you have a one track mind."   

"At least I'm not asking you about your sex life, or lack thereof."   

"I can see that you aren't going to give up.  Very well, my wife divorced me when I was exiled, and I haven't seen her or my daughter since. Now if that answer is satisfactory, maybe we could move on to more interesting topics."   

"Yes, of course. Go ahead."   

"Have you ever thought of being with a man?"   

Julian stared glassy eyed at Garak for a moment, then leaned forward and said, "I was getting thirsty anyway."   

"You have!"   

"I didn't say that!"   

"You may as well have, Doctor. I do believe this game is far more effective than any Cardassian interrogation technique I've heard of to date," he crowed, his eyes gleaming.   

"What does it matter to you?" Julian asked defiantly.   

"Is that my question?"   

"If that's the only way to get an answer out of you, yes."   

"Well you won't," Garak said lifting the glass to his lips.  "My turn. Who was the man who sparked your interest?" 

Julian defiantly slugged back another shot, before asking, "What do you care?"  

By way of refusing to answer the question, Garak joyfully poured himself another glass of  kanaar before asking, "Is it Captain Sisko?" 

"No. Why does it matter?"  

"Call it morbid curiosity. Is it Chief O'Brien?"  

"Hell no! Miles is a married man for God's sake!"  

"I suppose I can rule out Commander Worf as well, then."  

The doctor's body was racked by a shudder. "Please do," he said sounding more than a bit disturbed by the thought.  

"My turn. Have *you* ever felt attracted to Captain Sisko?" he smiled wickedly.  

"I'd be dead if I didn't," Garak replied candidly. 

Julian howled with laughter. He was beginning to relax and enjoy himself as the effects of the alcohol settled over him like a warm blanket. 

"Constable Odo?" Garak asked.  

"No, but, the possibilities are interesting to entertain,"  the doctor chuckled as he found himself reclining on the couch once more. He paused long enough to think before asking, "When was the last time you had sex?"  

"Three months ago. Now, Doctor, this man, is he human or non-human?"   

"I'm only going to answer this one because I just got bloody comfortable and I don't want to have to move to get my glass. Beside, half of the men on this station are non-human. So is he.  My turn, Garak. Who do you currently lust for?"  

"Unlike you, Doctor, I feel more comfortable getting the drink," Garak said leaning forward for his bottle.  

"Who is he, Doctor?" he continued after taking a sip. 

"Oooohhh.... I can't take another drink without my stomach beginning to work in reverse. Let's play another game."  

"Really, Julian, it's too late in the evening to start another game. Why don't you just answer the question."  

"You like a good mystery, too, don't you, Garak? Shall I tell you what I know about him and you tell me who you think it is?"  

Garak sighed and said in an exasperated tone, "Very well, Doctor. I'm listening."   

"Well, to begin with he has these great pale eyes. They seem to see into your soul, he's  very intelligent, and he has a great sense of humor, although he does tend to go too far.  He's been around, he's done a lot of things I could only dream of. I think that he thinks that I'm ignorant, though. Sometimes he makes me feel so ... small. I don't think that he knows that it hurts me. Maybe I hurt him,  

"Not as much as he hurts himself, I'm sure," the tailor said quietly.   

"So, any guesses, any advice?"   

"I think I know who this is, Doctor. If it is who I believe it to be, you should approach him tomorrow, when your mind is clear. He feels the same way for you, but he wouldn't want you to make a mistake about this while you are in a questionable state. If you feel the same way tomorrow, you should go see him and tell him what you've told me. Now, if you're going to have a clear head tomorrow, Doctor, you should go to bed. I need to go, I have an early day ahead of me in my shop.  Goodnight, Doctor."   

As he rose to go, Julian sat up, perhaps a bit too quickly.   "You have to go so soon?"   

"I'm afraid so. I have inventory and need to be in the shop earlier than usual. Will we meet for lunch then, Doctor?"  He hoped desperately that Julian would catch the subtle hint.   

"As far as I know, yes. I think we have some serious matters to discuss. Goodnight, Garak."   

"Goodnight, Julian." The tailor's heart was light with hope as he returned to his empty quarters. Hope that they would not be so empty tomorrow night. 


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