by Henrietta Wotton
"A toast now, everyone," said Miles O'Brien, holding his glass of champagne aloft. "To my old chum Julian Bashir. We've got used to his winning every biochemistry prize in the quadrant for his cures for genetically engineered diseases. But even the venerable Nobel pales beside this one. The Federation has only awarded the Leonard McCoy medal for medical practice as a humane discipline twice in the last hundred years. Garak, why don't you read the inscription?"
The Cardassian's blue eyes sparkled as he proclaimed in a voice husky with emotion, "To Dr. Julian Subatoi Bashir, whose brilliant research has given hope that no power will ever again willfully induce suffering in entire peoples, secure in the knowledge that nothing can end that suffering, but whose true greatness is revealed in the words of the former patient who nominated him for this award, ‘There was never a hurt so small or a sufferer so base that he would not stop to heal.'" Garak touched his glass to O'Brien's and said, "Gh'mak entar, praise to the praiseworthy."
"Gh'mak entar," repeated the small circle of friends who surrounded the doctor-- Miles and Keiko, Ezri and Jake, Jilana and Jogal. Then they all touched glasses and downed the bubbly liquor. Julian embraced Elim and clapped Miles on the back. "I, uh, want to thank all of you for being with me tonight. Honors don't mean much unless you've someone to share them with.
And Elim's not lost his touch, bringing you all to Cardassia without my ever suspecting a thing. I do know that the replicator's been working overtime, so let's all go into the kitchen and see what delicacies are on offer."
"Wait a minute," O'Brien put in. "We've had the Cardassian sentiment, now it's time for the human." With that he launched into a rousing version of "For he's a jolly good fellow" in his slightly off-key baritone. Keiko and Jake joined in enthusiastically, while the Trill and the three Cardassians maintained a slightly puzzled silence.
Just as the singers were stretching out the last syllable of the last repetition of "And so say all of us," a small girl ran into the room from the hallway. She was wearing a bright print nightgown whose background matched her shock of flaming red hair. The hair came as quite a contrast to her slate blue complexion and the white nubby antennae that protruded from her forehead. She made her way to Jilana's side and signed to her, in words converted to speech by everyone's universal translators, "Mo-mo, these people are too loud. I can't sleep."
"Shh, Trel'ammi, it's a party for Doctor Julian, remember?" Jilana signed back. "Don't insult all his friends who've come from so far away."
The child extended her lower lip in a pout. "You tell me always to let you know if sounds keep me awake, so you can get my ear shields."
"That's right," Julian intervened. "We've got to protect those super sensitive ears of yours." He
swept the girl up in his arms. "But you're in luck, Trel'ammi, because now that all my noisy friends have awakened you, we're going to get you some of Takkon Garak's sweeties." She nodded her head and gave him a dazzling smile as he led the other guests to the dessert table.
Garak had asked all the invited guests to send him the replicator formulas for their favorite desserts, so the table was laden with everything from Idanian spice pudding to larish pie to trifle. Julian even caught sight of the date and honey cake his mother always made for him as a boy. Of course Amsha and Elim had been exchanging recipes for years, and Julian had laughed long and hard at his lover's discomfiture when one of them came inscribed to "the best daughter-in-law any fond mother could have."
Julian picked up an Andorrian confection made of menala seeds rolled into balls of spun sugar made from the sap of the menala tree. "Open wide Trel'ammi, " he said, popping it into the little girl's mouth. He planned to dig into the keva-flavored sponge cake topped with Delavian chocolate icing that Garak always made for him on special occasions, but he wanted to wait for his guests to serve themselves first. As he stood popping still more menala balls into Trel'ammi's eagerly anticipatory mouth, he saw Jogal cut a slice of the larish pie and hurriedly return with it and a glass of kanar into the living room. Trying to stay well out of Elim's way, Julian concluded with a sigh.
The relationships he and Elim had maintained with these twin Cardassian street children whom they had rescued ten years ago couldn't be more different. Jilana had stayed five years at the Institute for Gestural Communication on Camerzion, and the instant she had learned a standard sign language, she had kept in regular touch with them both (although she was in many respects noticeably partial to Garak). She visited two or three times a year, had invited them to her wedding to Telar, a mute Andorrian fellow student at the Institute, and had insisted that Julian deliver her baby. She behaved, in general, as if she were their daughter.
Jogal, on the other hand--it had been one melodrama after another. He had spent a half year under Garak's tutelage, demonstrating a quick intelligence and aptitude for computer codes, and a complete unwillingness to cultivate self-discipline. He and Garak battled constantly, and Julian wasn't at all pleased by how often his lover would resort to physical punishment to control the boy. Finally Garak, with decided misgivings, managed to enroll his charge in a state-sponsored boarding school, from which he was promptly expelled two months later for "being a corrupting influence on the other students." The school had provided Jogal with transit vouchers to return to Bajor, where Garak was serving as the Cardassian ambassador, but he never showed up.
Julian had been frantic, Elim resigned. "We did our best for him, and he chose his own gratification instead," the Cardassian said. "He's no doubt gone back to the streets where he belongs."
Three weeks after Jogal had disappeared, he turned up completely unexpectedly at the Infirmary on DS9, looking decidedly the worse for wear. Gradually Julian got out of him that the boy had indeed returned to selling himself on the streets of Cardassia Prime, only to find that the business was not what it had been. He no longer could offer the novelty of being part of a twin act, there were fewer curious aliens on Prime now that Cardassia was beginning to be self-sufficient again, and, he confessed, "there's younger and prettier studders out there in Kadz's park these moons." He begged Bashir just to let him live with him on the station, away from that "horrible old twofie," but the Doctor couldn't agree. While Jogal had in a peculiar way brought him and Elim together, he wasn't going to allow the boy to play them against each other and thus drive them apart. "Elim will be coming here in four hours. You'll have to make your peace with him before we can talk about your future."
Elim had no sooner caught sight of Jogal than he said, "Well, have you come crawling back so soon?" Without waiting for an answer, which the boy seemed unlikely to supply, he then told Julian, "Go entertain yourself at Quark's for an hour, my dear. Jogal and I have matters to discuss." The boy had pleaded for Julian to stay, claiming that Garak was bound to kill him.
"I will not lay a finger on him, I promise you," Garak insisted, and Julian took him at his word and left.
When he returned, Jogal wasn't in his and Elim's quarters. Garak explained that he had found the boy his own accommodations on the station for now and that he was planning to enroll him in a training school for computer technicians in the Chin'toka system. He had made it clear that this was absolutely the last chance he would offer Jogal but that no matter how things worked out, he refused ever to let the boy enter his residence again. "I know you are fond of him, Julian, and I don't object to your maintaining contact, but I refuse to have anything more to do with him myself."
Bashir had never got Jogal to tell him what had transpired during the interview with Garak. The boy shipped out for Chin'toka without protest the next day. He communicated with the doctor on a haphazard basis and occasionally dropped by the station when his school holidays and Garak's trips back to Prime coincided. He claimed to have been awarded a certificate for completing his training course two years later, and to have been flooded with job offers to serve as a data systems designer, although Bashir never saw any hard and fast proof of these stories. The only fact about Jogal's post-graduation activities that Julian could verify was that he had for the past three years been working as a sales representative for a Ferengi wholesaler whom he had met one day at Quark's. His product was "pleasure enhancers"--sex toys-- and he had his own runabout, "The Kadz," with which he traveled from Orion to Risa to Earth and dozens of systems in between to contact potential clients. Bashir couldn't help laughing at the appropriateness of the young Cardassian's career choice, but Garak had been furious to hear of it. "The State invests in his training and then he abandons Cardassia for a life of promoting degeneracy," his lover had thundered, and he couldn't be teased out of his anger by Julian calling him a prude and asking whether he might buy one of Jogal's wares for Elim's birthday.
Julian reflected that it proved Elim's great love for him that he would have invited Jogal once more to enter his home on Cardassia Prime, where he now served as Minister of Culture, in order to have their entire "family" present to celebrate the great honor Starfleet had bestowed upon the doctor. Ever since Jogal's arrival with Jilana and Trel'ammi this morning, however, he and Garak had devoted most of their energies to avoiding each other. They had exchanged at best a few perfunctory phrases. The doctor wished he knew why these two people who were both dear to him could not get over their deep-seated animosity toward each other.
A hand on his arm brought him out of his reverie. "Julian," Jilana signed, "how much candy have you been feeding Trel'ammi?" While he had been lost in thought, the little girl had stuffed her mouth full to bursting with the Andorrian delicacies. "If she gets sick, you're the doctor who's going to deal with it while I enjoy the party," her mother joked.
"Uh, sorry, I got distracted," he replied apologetically.
Jilana reached up to take the girl from him and shook her head with an affectionate smile. She expertly balanced the child on one arm as she carried her plate and drink in her other hand on the way back to the living room.
Julian glanced around and saw that he was the sole remaining inhabitant of the kitchen. He cut himself a sizable piece of the sponge cake, poured a glass of the very old port Miles had brought, and rejoined his friends.
The party had resolved itself into three little clusters. Jilana sat on the couch with Trel'ammi on her lap while Miles stood in front of her demonstrating something on a PADD. Engineering talk, Julian concluded. Jilana did structural designs for large industrial installations. Over in the corner by the window, Garak was engaged in animated conversation with Keiko. Since his return to his native planet, Garak had gradually let gardening overtake sewing as his passion, and he was no doubt taking advantage of Dr. O'Brien's skills as a botanist. Up against the bookcases that lined the rear wall, Ezri and Jake were talking to Jogal. Julian decided that this conversation would be the most congenial and walked over to them.
"So how's the man of the hour?" Ezri said with a smile, and then a kiss on the cheek. Julian saw Jake stiffen. Although Garak and Bashir had been together for ten years now, and Jake and Ezri had been married for four, the young human never seemed totally comfortable about the doctor's previous relationship with his wife.
"Rather overwhelmed at all the fuss, to be honest," Julian muttered, ducking his head. "Jake must know what it's like, after all the praise he got for his definitive history of the Dominion War last year."
"Yeah," Jogal chimed in. "It seems every planet I land on to make my sales, you see his book in the shops, or find out he's coming to give a lecture. Got to read it when I get the chance. We didn't exactly hear the full story on Cardassia, with the Jemmies and Vorta saying what was what."
"I'm not sure even my book gets at the full story," Jake said. "I've never been satisfied with the chapter on how the Romulans came into the war against the Founders. Senator Vreenak's ship blowing up, that stolen data rod--it always seemed too, too... convenient. I've always wondered if some anti-Dominion faction of the Romulan senate in fact arranged the whole thing, to get rid of opposition at home. Maybe I should ask Garak what he thinks. He knows a lot about the Romulans, doesn't he?"
"He knows a lot about everything, if you can believe what he tells you," Jogal replied dismissively. There was an awkward silence, until Ezri launched an obvious attempt to change the subject. "So, Julian, are you enjoying your work on Starbase 274?"
"Yes, it's very challenging. We gather data on any illness that makes a first occurrence in Federation space, track epidemics, do research on vaccines. And besides its quarantine wing for infectious disease patients, the Infirmary that's affiliated with the laboratory also receives any trauma cases that occur on ships in the entire sector. There's really never a dull moment. Still, I must admit that the main attraction is that it's only an hour from Cardassia Prime, instead of twenty. Now I can come home to Elim every evening I'm not on duty."
"Wouldn't trade that for Quark's holosuites myself," Jogal said. Julian shot him a disapproving look. "Speaking of which," the Cardassian added, unrepentant, "how's that wreck of a Kardasi station doing without the services of the Fedder doc here?"
"Oh, it's very grim," Ezri intoned with mock solemnity. "The new CMO is a Vulcan--very skilled, but absolutely no bedside manner. Patients of hers no sooner check out of the Infirmary than they come straight to me to receive counseling for depression."
"Let's have no talk of depression on such a festive occasion!" Garak had come up behind them, putting his arm around Julian. "I hope you're all enjoying yourselves."
"I think I'll get some more pie," Jogal answered, bolting for the kitchen.
"All the desserts are great," Jake said. "It's the best Idanian spice pudding I've had in years."
"A secret ingredient I learned from some Idanians themselves, many years ago. I'm glad it pleases you. Julian and I have both been fascinated by your account of the War in that history you so kindly sent us."
"Elim is especially fascinated that you gave him an entire chapter to himself," Julian teased. Elim responded by making those small motions with his fingers on his lover's collar bone that usually were a signal for them to retire to the bedroom. The doctor disengaged himself, breathing hard to keep his composure. "I'd better go mingle with the rest of the guests," he gasped out.
"Always so polite, my Julian," Garak observed with a smirk.
Julian found Jilana still sitting on the sofa with Trel'ammi, but now her conversational partner was Keiko rather than Miles. The two women were deeply engaged in "mother" discussions. "I haven't seen hair as red as Trel'ammi's since Miles' last family reunion in Dublin. It's quite amazing," Keiko was saying as the doctor approached. "You'd think Cardassians and Andorrians would produce gray haired children somehow."
It wasn't really so amazing, Julian reflected. All you had to do was understand the peculiar properties of the chromosome sequence that determined Andorrian pigmentation. Red hair had actually been the most likely result of this particular cross-species mating.. He refrained from saying so, however. Elim was always chiding him afterwards when he became too explanatory: "My dear boy, when people say in casual conversation how miraculous they find some occurrence, they really do not want you to tell them that it is in fact quite commonplace to anyone who has a brain."
Jilana smiled as he came up and stood beside Keiko’s chair. "Not as amazing as Trel'ammi's having hearing. Isn't that right, Julian?"
"That's right. The genetic tests placed the likelihood of Jilana and Telar having a deaf and mute child at 95% and of the child having hearing without speech at less than .0001%."
"Of course, we would have been perfectly content if she hadn't been able to hear, but Telar speaks so eloquently through his music, they tell me, that it's a truly special gift his child can share that with him, since his wife cannot. Of course," Jilana continued, noticing that her daughter was fidgeting and rubbing at her ears, "the gift is sometimes too much of a good thing. There are definite drawbacks to raising a little one whose hearing would, how do you say it, Julian, put a Ferengi to shame?"
Jogal returned from the kitchen at this point, engaged in an animated conversation with Miles about sending him "a catalog and some free samples." But O'Brien turned beet red and shushed him once they were in range of the others. Jogal laughed and scooped up his niece, then settled down next to his sister with the child on his lap. "Believe me, there's very little that would put a Ferengi to shame," he said, "and certainly not Uncle Kadz's own little sharp-eared gettle here." He tickled Trel'ammi's stomach, evoking peals of silent laughter.
"Kadz?" Keiko asked. "I thought your name was Jogal."
"Oh, it is, but Kadz is the nickname I had as a kid, and I've always thought it suited me better than my given name." He winked at Julian, who fervently hoped that no further explanations of the nickname's origins would be forthcoming. To forestall that possibility he hurried to say to the little girl, "And where did you get that pretty nightgown you're wearing, Trel'ammi?"
"Grandpa Elim made it for me," the child signed, casting her eyes over to where Garak stood with Ezri and Jake. "Come say to everyone where the pieces came from, Grandpa Elim."
Not daring refuse this august summons, Garak ambled over and knelt in front of Trel'ammi. With the child on his lap, Jogal for once had no way to escape, but leaned back as far as he could get, with a surly expression on his face. Garak pointed to various fabrics that made up the child's garment. "Here's a piece of Cardassian ilm for where your mo-mo was born, and here's a piece of Andorrian tilapo seed cloth for where your rakka was born, and here's some Camerzion leather for where they met. And here's some Terran cotton from the Federation hospital where Doctor Julian delivered you, and underneath there's a lining of Tholian silk, because that's Takkon Elim's favorite fabricl in the whole galaxy."
"And this is Trel'ammi's favorite thing to wear in the whole galaxy," the child said and then bent forward to kiss him on his spoon.
"Of course Elim never got over my becoming a structural engineer instead of a fashion designer,"
"You had such a talent for putting patterns together, my dear, but then the Cardassian female's predilection for working in metals and polymers led you astray from satins and velvets," Garak replied with mock regret.
"Grandpa, don't fight with mo-mo," Trel'ammi said with an anxious expression.
"Grandpa is only teasing mo-mo, don't worry," Julian hastened to reassure her.
"So how come Garak is her ‘grandpa’ and you're not?" Miles asked with some amusement.
"That's very complicated." Bashir answered. "Andorrians define family with almost complete disregard to actual blood relationships. All adults who are involved in raising a child qualify as a rakka or rakke, a father or mother. The same goes for takkons and takkens, grandparents who've helped raise the child's parents. However, Andorrians feel about species the way Cardassians feel about biological parentage. So, as a human, I don't qualify for any kinship relation to Jilana or her child. I just have to settle for being Doctor Julian."
"I'll take the Cardassian way anytime," Jogal interjected with a scowl. "No way I'd want anyone to think Garak was my rakka."
"Kadz!" Jilana exclaimed. Then she began to sign in their own private gestural language, which the translators couldn't decode. Bashir had gotten pretty rusty on understanding those signs, but there was no mistaking Jilana's anger at her brother's rudeness and hostility toward their host. He was signing back just as angrily. As the other guests studiously attended to their refreshments, Garak picked up Trel'ammi and retreated with her out of the line of fire. However, the child soon began to cry and wriggled free. She ran to her mother and grabbed her hands, thus stopping
the conversation. When Jilana gathered her into her arms, the little girl then grabbed the eyeglass-type device that her mother wore to translate oral speech into sign and threw it to the floor. Then she covered her ears with her own little hands and started rocking back and forth in Jilana's arms.
Jogal got up and said in Alpha Quadrant standard sign language, "Here, she's tired. Let me put her to bed." His sister handed her daughter over with a glare, and no one protested when the young Cardassian and his niece left the room.
There wasn't much that could be done to rescue the evening after that. The O'Briens and the Siskos made embarrassed good-byes and returned to the orbiting transport that had brought them to Prime. Jilana started to clean up, pausing every few minutes to make apologies to Garak for her brother's conduct. When Jogal failed to reappear after a half hour, Julian went looking for him. The doctor found him sitting in a chair beside his sleeping niece's bed, apparently lost in thought. Bashir tiptoed in and motioned Jogal out into the hall.
"You can't hide from Elim forever, you know," Julian began.
"Oh, no? I've done a good enough job of it until now. It was a mistake for me to come, doc, even for your sake. I'm leaving early in the morning. Telar's concert tour is over in a couple of days, and he'll fetch Moxh and Trel'ammi back home."
Julian didn't know what else to say about Jogal's feud with Garak beyond what he had said to both of them, to no avail, throughout the years. "Did Trel'ammi calm down right away," he asked instead.
"No, she's always gets upset around oral speakers, even if she can hear. Specially when the voices overlap. She does like it, though, when her uncle Kadz reads her the tale of the ghostly riding hound of the Ghetakeret plain and imitates the wail of the hound as it hunts down the unwary enemies of Cardassia. I had to read it through four times before she dropped off, and I've put on the ear shields to keep her from waking up this time." Jogal shook his head. "To think of my Moxh married and with her own little gitter. Wouldn't have grabbed that as anyway possible when we first met all that time ago."
"Trel'ammi is a very special child," Julian agreed. "I'm just sorry they live so far away, and we see them so rarely. I wish they'd chosen to settle on Cardassia. Have you ever thought about coming home, Jogal? I can't imagine the cold, damp climate of Ferenginar would be very attractive to a Cardassian."
"I'm travelling nine days out of ten, plenty of hot dry planets on my route. Besides, I've no love for Cardassia. It's still no place for an acci."
"How can you say that? They repealed the bastardy laws six years ago. You'd be a full citizen now."
"Didn't repeal people's opinions," Jogal retorted. "Those will never change. Look how they've treated Garak. First he has to wrangle with those ungrateful Bajorans, then they bring him home to be Minister of Culture. Running around giving speeches and opening museums and libraries! If he'd been a gitter, it would have been different. He'd be in charge of everyone. Even that human Jake thinks more of him than his own people do."
"This human thinks pretty much of him, too, as you well know," Julian laughed. "Besides, Elim loves giving lectures and dedicating libraries. He's in his element." Then he realized the oddness of what Jogal had just said. "Since when do you care whether he gets the respect he deserves from Cardassia," the doctor asked. "You can't manage to stay in the same room with him for more than a quarter hour."
"Just because I still think he's a right bloody bastard, as your friend Miles would say, doesn't change the fact of him driving the Jemmies out and getting nothing in return for it. He should have stayed on that station with you and left those Cardie gitters to fend for themselves. That's what this acci is doing."
Suddenly Bashir's communicator chirped: "Level five emergency at Starbase 274 trauma center. All off-duty staff report at once."
Bashir hurriedly changed into his uniform and summoned his runabout from orbit. He paused briefly to say his good-byes to Elim, who was still putting dishes in the recycler and leftovers in the preserver. "There's been a rupture of the main plasma conduit that runs the length of deck five on the Starship Verdun. The area's been sealed off, but the bridge has lost communications with the trapped crewmen. The ship's traveling to Starbase 274 at Warp 8.5. They think there may be hundreds of casualties. I expect to be in surgery most of the night, so I'll just sleep over in my quarters on the base. I'll call you in the morning about when I'll be back, as soon as I know myself."
Elim kissed him passionately on the lips. "I hope it's soon," he said a little wistfully.
"I'm sorry the party fell apart on us Elim," Julian commiserated, returning the kiss. "It was a wonderful idea, and I love you for planning it." Then he pressed his communicator and beamed up to the runabout.
Bashir arrived at the base a few minutes after the Verdun docked, only to discover that, thankfully, the casualties had been far fewer than anticipated. A young assistant engineer had contained the plasma eruption before it contaminated the whole deck. There turned out to be a ratio of only one trauma patient per doctor, so Bashir was released from duty about midnight, Cardassian time.
There was no need to stay on the base, he reasoned. What could be better than surprising Elim by slipping into his bed with hours of darkness still before them? It would make up a bit for the party debacle. Besides, the doctor felt decidedly uneasy about the prospect of Jogal and Elim in the same house without him there to mediate.
Garak's security was such that even the residents of his house couldn't beam directly inside. You had to transport down to the front door and then enter the access codes. As Julian programmed in one complex series of letters, numbers and symbols after another, he heard voices and male laughter. Who could be visiting so late, he wondered. Finally the door sprang open and he walked into the living room, where Elim and Jogal were sitting on the couch, smiles on their faces, toasting each other with glasses of kanar. They turned and regarded Bashir with surprised expressions.
"Julian, you're back early, how delightful," Garak beamed, not missing a beat. "As you can see, Jogal and I have finally decided to put this feud of ours behind us."
The truth of it hit Bashir in a flash. How could he have been so blind all these years? Jogal's job, servicing a clientele that no doubt specialized in pleasuring some of the most influential people on dozens of Alpha Quadrant worlds--it was a perfect cover.
"You can drop the pretense, Elim," he said, his face dark with anger.
Jogal and Garak exchanged meaningful glances. "Oh my, I've stayed up much too late," the younger Cardassian mumbled. "I'd better get to sleep--since I'm shipping out so early. Night, doc." He scrambled up and hurried off down the hall.
Bashir plopped down into the nearest chair, clenching and unclenching his fists. He stared straight into Garak's eyes. "You turned him into a spy, didn't you?"
The Cardassian smiled, "I promised long ago that I would teach him what I knew. Since he absolutely refused to take up the needle, and his taste in literature was even worse than yours, what else was there left for me to do? "
"It's not funny, Elim," Bashir returned with a snort.
"I don't know.. I find it most amusing that you've only now figured things out. I must congratulate Jogal on his performance."
"And yourself. He learned from the master."
"Thank you very kindly, my love. I did worry through the years that both of us might have overplayed our parts."
"Perhaps you did," Julian replied. "I'm obviously not much of a drama critic. How could you do this to him, Elim, after all the Obsidian Order did to you?"
Garak finally grew serious. "Every great power has to have an intelligence service, your precious Federation included. I've never been able to fathom your fascination with espionage as a fantasy and your contempt for it as a reality."
Julian absorbed the rebuke for several seconds. "And you don't care whether the memories will make him wake up screaming thirty years from now, as they do you?" he asked, his voice almost breaking.
Garak leaned forward and took the doctor's hand. "I've not trained him to be a torturer or an assassin, believe me. He simply gathers intelligence. That's all."
"Right you are Garak," Jogal chimed in, returning from the corridor from which he had been listening in on their conversation, like the able spy he was. "I only kill them in self-defense, doc, so don't ruffle." He perched on the arm of Bashir's chair, grinning broadly. "So, Julian here has tumbled to our little charade at last?"
"He has," Garak said.
"About time I'd say. Wasn't any fun keeping up the pretense. But I thought you were Mr. Superbrain, doc. What took you so long?"
"I suppose I didn't want to see it, so I didn't see it."
"I never grabbed why Garak wanted you in the dark in the first place. I mean, we could trust you. Now, it would have blown my cover the first week if people thought too closely about my being virtually the adopted son of Garak of the Obsidian Order, but you could have still told them how much he and I hated each other, even if it was just a game."
"He's not a very good liar, Kadz," Garak said. "I've told you that often enough."
"Well, I hope some of the skill's rubbed off from being with you all this time, ‘cause he's going to have to keep our secret now."
"Or you could quit the business, now that your cover's blown," Bashir suggested.
"Doc, don't make me do that," the young man pleaded. "I was born to be a spy. At least I took to it like a wompet to alcara trees."
"And you've no regrets?"
"Not a one. Plus I really am the quadrant's leading profit generator for Graks and Zag Pleasure Enhancers, Ltd. It's a great life. Only--" Jogal's exuberance dimmed slightly.
"Only, don't tell Moxh, all right? She'd worry herself sick."
Julian could see that he had long ago lost this battle. "Your secret is safe with me, from your sister and everyone else."
Jogal clapped him on the back heartily. "I knew you'd go along. Kept telling Garak we shouldn't wait till you found out on your own. And now that we're all of us friends again, how about a threesome? I've got a number of my top of the line accessories in my sample kit."
"Kadz! Go to bed," both Garak and Bashir shouted in unison. "And we do mean alone," Garak added, once he stopped laughing.
"You are the most conventional pair of old twofies I've ever met." the young man exclaimed in annoyance. "But I'll seduce the pair of you yet. ‘Cause, till you've done it with Kadz, you don't know what you're missing." He caressed each of them on the neck in his most provocative manner, planted a kiss square on each of their lips, and then dashed off to his bedroom before they could retaliate.
"That boy is utterly shameless, always has been," Julian observed after Kadz had departed.
"It helps him in the work, of course," Garak said, as he began caressing Julian's face and working to unfasten his uniform.
"Ummm," Julian replied breathlessly, as he reached inside Elim's trousers. "With all the action he sees, I don't understand why he's set on getting ‘two old twofies' like us into his bed."
"Isn't it obvious, my dear?" Garak purred as he maneuvered his lover to their bedroom. "He knows full well that he is the one who is missing out on something very special."
DISCLAIMER: All these guys belong to Paramount except for my two Cardassians and their relatives.
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