Star Trek - Deep Space Nine: Succubus (MF)
by Ruth Moore

It was dark on the Promenade, but then it was usually dark on the Promenade late at night. Dr. Julian Bashir wondered if the Cardassians would be a different people if they didn't have to grow up with an architecture that seemed designed to oppress. Of course, the architecture could be said to be
the result of the society as opposed to being the other way around, but tonight he didn't really care. That debate could be saved for lunch with Garak, tonight he longed for the reassuringly bland pastels of StarFleet.

His fatigue had a lot to do with it, he knew. At least Ensign Tsien and her twins were doing fine. It had been a long exhausting labor, and there had been one point where he had almost had to override the tiny woman's wish for natural childbirth, but then things had finally started going right and the result had left everyone feeling exhausted but triumphant.

When he reached his quarters, Julian fought the urge to drop right into bed. He would seriously regret it in the morning if he didn't clean up first. Unfortunately the shower seemed to leave him feeling more awake and so when he did fall into bed he had to fight a nerve-wracking combination of
wakefulness and fatigue. He tried to breathe in slow steady breaths, he tried to envision himself floating off into the dark, he tried all his trusted methods for sleep but none of them worked.

"This just won't do," he muttered to himself as he rolled over for what seemed to be the tenth time in a minute. Well, there was always one other way to relax, one that usually succeeded when all the others had failed. Julian stripped out of his briefs and rummaged in his mind for the right images. Fantasy or memory? Memory won out as he thought of Melora. Ahh... Melora and the zero-G in her quarters. His hand slid down to stroke his rapidly hardening penis. He remembered how she had looked naked hanging just out of his reach, her blonde hair floating around her lovely face like a halo. He had awkwardly managed to reach her legs and had figured they were as good a place to start as any. Slowly he had kissed his way up, lavishing attention to the sensitive areas he discovered behind her knees. Reaching the high insides of her thighs he had lingered, drawing the moment out. He could hear her breathing heavily and occasionally gasping as she twisted slowly in the air.

When he had reached the center of her, he had gently started with just the tip of his tongue. She had tasted like spice, an intoxicating cinnamon-like taste that had made him speed up just to taste more of her. He had increased the pressure of his tongue, holding onto her hips in an attempt to keep from floating away from her. His tongue had worried at her clitoris, quick flicks followed by the gentlest nibbles. The nibbles had gotten an enthusiastic response, her legs had wrapped themselves around his head. Encouraged by this, he had continued enthusiastically and was rewarded by a cry of ecstasy as she climaxed. Later, he had assumed that she had let go of whatever she was holding onto, for they had begun to drift around the room....

"You seem to be lonely," an incredible voice purred in the here and now. Julian's eyes flew open, and he instinctively grabbed at the covers. "Oh, don't do that, I was enjoying the view."

"Lights," he managed to croak out. The lights came up and he stared at the foot of his bed. There, sitting cross-legged, was the most amazing woman he'd ever seen. She was pale, her skin ivory barely touched with the faintest of pinks. And her hair...her hair was silver. Not gray or white but a metallic silver that wrapped around her like strands of the thinnest silk. In spite of the situation, Julian wanted to touch that hair, to find out if something that looked like metal could be as soft as he imagined. As if in response to that thought, she leaned forward and trailed a strand of it across his calves. It *was* soft, not metallic at all, and he shuddered at the feel of it.

"Who," he began, dimly aware that he should be worried about something. *How did she get in? What's going on here? Why am I still so aroused?*

"Is that important? I'm a...dream. Yes, dreamed up by you, Julian." She moved upward toward him and he realized that she was naked. Her breasts were on the small side, firm and tipped with pale pink nipples; she was slim and straight waisted, almost boyish. As she moved closer, he saw that the hair between her legs was also sliver, it looked rougher than that on her head, like coiled wire. Julian was still vaguely aware that something was wrong here. *What's happening? Why can't I open my mouth and call Security?* Then a strand of that incredible hair brushed across his erection and he was lost. He gasped and reached for her. She was right there in his arms before he completed the movement. *How does she know what I want?* She was light and cool, almost insubstantial, it was like
embracing a holograph that wasn't fully materialized.

She bent her head and kissed him, and his senses reeled. He could feel the kiss throughout his entire body; he got even harder (if that was possible). That hair was falling all around them and he reached up to take some of it in his hand, it was like trying to grasp spider webs. They kissed again and
he turned his head to reach her neck. She arched her head back and he began to kiss and lick his way along her pale skin. *Why doesn't she have a pulse?* She shivered and her fingers began to stroke his neck, her fingernails finding the sensitive point at the hollow of his throat. As he awkwardly tried to move his mouth down to her breasts, she shifted to straddle him, offering her breasts at exactly the right angle. *Where are her aureoles?* He moved his mouth over her smooth flesh, his tongue finding a nipple as his fingers found the one on the other breast. She moaned, almost a whisper, but the first sign that what he was doing pleased her. Encouraged, he continued to tease her nipples, moving his mouth from one to the other. Her skin had absolutely no taste or scent. *Why?* She was moving now, sliding her hips down toward his.

With an easy, elegant movement she raised her hips and took him inside her. She was perfect, he slid in with just enough resistance to excite him even more. She was hot, much warmer than he had expected, and he thrust eagerly into her. She matched his rhythm perfectly. She seemed more substantial now, and her skin was warming up. His mouth sought her neck again. *Still no pulse.* She was gasping continuously, as was he, and he slid a hand between them, searching for her clitoris. He found it, and stroked it in time with their rhythm. She moaned at that, louder than she had before. He could feel her tightening around him and then she shuddered and tightened up more. He began to move faster and she was right there with him, her mouth on his throat, her hair brushing his face and chest. With a loud cry, Julian thrust one final time and climaxed. The feeling that rolled over him was unlike any orgasm he'd ever had, it seemed to go on forever and when it was over, he slipped gently into a fog of unconsciousness. *Help!*

* * *

The next morning, Julian woke still feeling tired. He managed to grunt out "Off," loud enough that his alarm stopped screeching at him. He sat up groggily and yawned. *Something happened last night, what?* He frowned and shook his head, he could vaguely remember an odd dream, but it was even now
slipping away. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Now that was odd, his briefs were at the foot of the bed tangled up with the sheet. He rubbed his eyes and then remembered that he had been thinking about Melora and had started to... "You're getting old, Julian," he said to himself. "Falling asleep while doing that..." He chuckled and headed toward the shower.

That morning he was noticeably subdued during the staff meeting. His mind kept wandering as Kira went on about the docking schedules and Odo complained about some rowdy miners. *Silver hair...*

"Doctor," the commander said. Julian looked up guiltily, aware that Sisko had repeated himself.

"Sir...?" he mumbled. "Oh sorry, sir. I was up late last night. Both Ensign Tsien and her twins are doing fine, they went home this morning. And Lieutenant Sandoval's skin condition is not Ri'tsalaian Hives, thank God. It turns out he allergic to something he ate at Quark's."

"The food maybe?" Odo said with a snort. Sisko rolled his eyes and Kira and Dax exchanged a quick grin.

"Well of course..." Julian began. "Oh right...I must be more tired than I thought." *What color were her eyes?* He stared off into the distance.

"More tired that you thought?" Sisko said. "You're falling asleep, Doctor. Take the rest of the day off. I'm sure that the Infirmary can do without you for a day." As Julian opened his mouth to protest, Sisko raised a hand. "You'd be quick enough to tell one of us the same thing." His firm tone
allowed no argument.

After the meeting, Julian drifted aimlessly around the station. He didn't really feel sleepy and if did go to his quarters and sleep during the day shift, his whole cycle would get messed up. He just wandered with no real goal in mind, as he tried to remember the dream from last night. He kept
getting flashes of images, but as soon as he would try to hold the images, they would vanish.

At midday he found himself at the Replimat, as usual. As he sat down with his lunch, he heard someone behind him. "Good day, Dr. Bashir." He turned, it was Garak, no surprise. Julian gestured to the chair opposite him and the Cardassian "tailor" sat down.

"You look pale, Doctor. I trust that you are in good health." Garak was his usual excessively polite self. Julian had often wondered if his friend ever took his mask off.

"Oh I'm just tired. I was up late last night delivering a pair of babies."

"Ah yes, Ensign Tsien. I am glad that all went well. We Cardassians consider the birth of twins to be an indication of good luck. They're very rare with us." Garak smiled and began to eat his lunch.

*There she is!* Julian rose from his chair so quickly that he knocked it over. Garak and the other patrons in the Replimat looked at him in surprise. He looked out at the Promenade, wondering who he had seen. He looked around embarrassed, and hastily righted his chair. Sitting down again, he shook
his head.

"I thought I saw someone," he explained to Garak.

"One would assume," Garak said in a mild voice. Julian shot a quick glance at him, it was sometimes hard to tell when Garak was being deliberately sarcastic. Remembering last night's speculations, he brought up the subject of Cardassian architecture. Garak, of course, was able to speak easily
about it; it had occurred at various times to Julian, that if Garak didn't know all there was to know about something he simply made things up. Not like Julian could tell the difference, so he took everything the Cardassian said with a rather large grain of salt.

The rest of the conversation was rather one-sided, Julian mostly sat and ate and listened as Garak explained the various schools of ancient Cardassian architecture. For some reason Julian was terribly hungry, when he had finished his sandwich and salad, he went back the replicator and ordered another sandwich and a piece of cake. *What does she taste like?*

"Well, as fascinating as all this is," Garak said, at length, "sitting here talking does not increase my business. I fear I must return to my shop." Julian got up and walked with him down the Promenade. As they reached the little shop, Garak turned to Julian. "I hope you don't mind my saying so, Doctor, but I do hope you will get some rest. You don't seem to be yourself today."

"Oh I'm just tired. I'll be better after I get some sleep." *Will she come back tonight?*

In spite of Sisko's orders, Julian wandered into the Infirmary during the late afternoon. He had just intended to check up on a few things, but it appeared that his commander knew him too well. Rila Araven, his Bajoran nurse took one look at him coming through the door and blocked his path.

"I'm sorry Doctor, but Commander Sisko said that you were not to come in here unless there was a medical emergency. It's been so quiet today that you could hear a spider cough, so out you go." He was too tired to try and argue with her, and so left quietly.

The long boring day finally ended. Julian still hadn't figured out what the strange flashes were but he figured that a long nights sleep would take care of the problem. As he settled down in bed, he hoped that there wouldn't be any puzzling dreams to remember.

"I've been waiting for you." The voice was instantly recognizable and he turned over to see her lying next to him. *What's wrong with me? Am I going crazy?* He looked into her eyes, they were gray, like fog or the sea on a cloudy day. They revealed nothing at all about this amazing woman and he
was again aware that he should be worried about something... Her hand reached out and ran through his hair and he closed his eyes and shivered. Desperately he tried to think past the sensations her touch provoked.

"Who are you?" he managed to ask.

"I told you last night, I'm a dream."

"No you're not..." he began. *You are not a dream, this is all too real. You're real and I'm drowning here.*

"Oh don't worry about that," she said dismissing his worries with a wave of her hand. Her eyes began to glow, they were almost as silver as that hair. She leaned forward and kissed him and he was lost again. Everything that had happened the night before came back to him now, and he began to run his
hands through that incredible hair.

He didn't want to just lie there the way he had last night, and so he began to touch her, to run his hands over that smooth skin. *She has no hair follicles, no pores in her skin.* He pushed her back until she was lying on her back, that hair tangled around her. He began to pay attention to her
breasts, his fingertips toying with her nipples, gently at first, then with increasing firmness as she moaned softly. Lowering his head, he moved his mouth across her flat belly, tonguing her navel. *How odd that she has a navel. And her skin, it's warmer tonight.* She shivered and slid her legs
up and over his shoulders. Gently his hands slid up the insides of her thighs until he slid them into that nest of soft hair. She was wet and so hot; he bent and began to gently lick along the outside of her sex. *Hardly any taste at all.* She spread her legs wider and he concentrated his efforts, his fingers opening her up and his tongue moving faster. He teased her a bit, avoiding her clitoris to pay attention to her labia. Her hips rolled and her hands reached down to run through his hair. He finally ran his tongue over her clitoris and she gasped, a hissing noise. Her fingers tightened in his hair. He began to tongue her harder now, increasing the pressure along her clitoris, penetrating her with his fingers. Her legs began to shake and he could feel her tighten around his fingers. When she cried out loudly and her hips writhed he felt a feeling of triumph. Gently he kissed the insides of her thighs as she relaxed.

"Oh I'm so glad I picked you," she whispered softly as he sat up to look at her. Her silver eyes glowed brighter as she looked at him. "I am enjoying you so."

*No! This is all so wrong. Why is this happening to me?* He slid up her body as she held out her arms. He held her close as she kissed and licked at his neck, then her hands were on him as she guided him into her. Each move, each thrust was answered perfectly, her rhythm in perfect time with
his. *How does she know?* At just the right time she raised her legs and wrapped them around his, her heels digging into his thighs. Julian was breathing in short gasps, moving closer all the time and then her fingernails dragged across his back. He flung his head back and climaxed with a loud cry, which she echoed, her inner muscles tightening around him. It was better than it had been the night before, even more intense. *I'm dying, I'm burning.* The darkness swooped down again, like thick fog and he surrendered to it. *Please no more.*

He wasn't sure how long it had been when he opened his eyes. She was sitting on the foot of the bed watching him. His head seemed a little clearer and he was aware that he was ravenous. She sat still and watched as he sat up. He shook his head, he was dizzy. *I didn't move that fast.*

"You're hungry," she said softly.

"Yes, I..." he began.

"I'll get you something." She left the bedroom and he could hear the whine of the replicator. When she returned she had a plate in her hand and a glass in the other. She set them on the bedside table and pushed him back against the pillows. She handed him the glass and he took a drink. Clear cold apple juice, tart and sweet at the same time; he drank it eagerly. *How did she know?* He investigated the contents of the plate; two *piroshki*, a pile of saut‚ed mushrooms, and gingered carrots. *All stuff I love to eat. Are you reading my mind?* He expected her to eat with him, but
she just sat and watched him with those fog shrouded eyes. Without paying much attention he finished all of the food. *Good Lord, that was enough for two and I don't even feel full.*

When he was done she smiled and gently pushed him onto his stomach. *How can I lie here like this after all that food?* Slowly she began to rub his back, her hands automatically finding all the tight muscles. She moved lower and lower, leaving his back and beginning to work on his thighs. He shifted on the bed, he was getting erect again. *No, not again, I can't take this.* Her hand slid between his legs and he rolled over, careful to avoid kicking her. She ran her fingers slowly along his penis and then added just the slightest pressure from her fingernails. He moaned at that, every nerve in his body tingling. She smiled and lowered her head. Her lips opened and his erection slid into her mouth, her tongue delicately moving around him. Reaching up she found one of his nipples with her fingernails and toyed with it as her mouth moved further down over him. Her touch, the soft warmth of her mouth, it was all overwhelming and he could feel the orgasm rushing closer. *This fast, the second time in a night?* She was moving her head faster now with just the right amount of suction and her fingernails pinched his nipple hard. Again it happened, that powerful rush of feeling as if his very soul were draining out of him. His head reeled and the fog rushed in again. As the darkness covered him, all he could see were her eyes, glowing as bright as beacons in the thick fog. *This can't be happening. Someone please help me.*

* * *

When the alarm sounded in the morning, Julian groaned. He knew that he had slept, but he was still exhausted, and hungry. Dragging himself out of bed, he stumbled to the replicator and ordered coffee and a bagel. He finished the bagel and still felt ravenous. After three cups of coffee and two more
bagels, he finally felt up to taking a shower. As he walked into the bathroom, he caught sight of himself in the mirror.

"Good Lord, I look terrible," he said staring at his reflection. His face was pale and there were great dark circles under his eyes. He yawned and tried to think. While he was not particularly a morning person, this was far worse than usual. "I must be coming down with something." *It's her,
she's killing me.* He stared at the mirror aware that he'd lost a very important thought. Shrugging, he climbed into the shower.

When he arrived at the Infirmary, Rila took one look at him and reached for her tricorder. He tried to look at it at the same time but she glared at him and he sighed and stood still. Shaking her head the Bajoran nurse held out the tricorder out to him. "I should have let you look at it, these readings don't make sense." As Julian stared at the reading, trying to figure them out, his stomach growled. He was suddenly dizzy and he put a hand to his head.

"Doctor?" Rila asked looking truly concerned. She slid her arm under his and walked him to one of the beds. "When did you last eat?" She helped him lie down.

"Just a half hour ago," he said worried. "I ate three bagels and I feel like I haven't had anything to eat in days. And I'm so tired, it's so hard to think. My head's full of fog." *Fog, like her eyes, like that wave of darkness. Oh God, I'm drowning in fog.* "Araven, I'll feel better when I've
had something to eat and some sleep." She looked skeptical but headed toward the replicator.

He ate everything she brought him and the hunger receded. The fog in his brain remained however, and he started to drift off toward sleep. He was distantly aware that Nurse Rila was hovering at the head of his bed looking at the readouts, but then he sank down into sleep. *Tell her Julian, open your mouth and tell her that the woman with silver hair is killing you.*

When he struggled back to consciousness sometime later, it was to the sound of Commander Sisko's voice. "And you have no idea what's wrong with him?"

"No Commander, all the readings say is that he's suffering from serious fatigue." Julian found himself vaguely touched by the concern in her voice. "He's also malnourished and dehydrated, if I hadn't known better, I'd have thought he had come from a labor camp."

Sisko turned to look at him and saw that Julian was awake. "How are you feeling Doctor?"

"I don't know," Julian answered. His voice was a whisper and he cleared his throat. "Rila, you better get me on an IV." She looked at him and smiled, holding up the IV equipment.

"Do you have any idea what's wrong with you?" Sisko asked.

"No, I can't think straight. Sir, you need to get a doctor up here from Bajor. I'm certainly not fit for duty."

Sisko reached down and gripped his hand. Julian tried to grip back, but he was aware of nothing but a terrible weakness. He leaned back and barely heard Sisko say, "You just rest, Julian, we'll take care of it."

Julian drifted as Rila deftly hooked him up to the I V. He felt the hiss of a hypospray and couldn't even be bothered to ask what he'd been given. He was dimly glad that he trusted her to know what to do. He turned his head to the side and drifted off again. *Please, don't come to me again. I'll never make it if you take me again.*

* * *

There was a woman looking down at him when he woke, Dax. His eyes noticed the slight imperfections of her. He'd never thought about it before, thinking her one of the most perfect women he'd ever seen. There were faint smudges under her eyes, a chipped nail on the hand that rested on his shoulder, and he could see the fine hairs on her arms where her sleeve was pulled back.

"You're real..." he started to say, then paused. Why had he said that? *Because I have to tell her about Silver-hair. Silver-hair's not real, and Jadzia can save me.*

"Yes I am, Julian. Why did you say that?"

"Don't know," he replied softly. He shook his head, what had he missed?

"Julian, listen to me. There's a doctor on the way from Bajor. She'll be here in an hour." He tried to pat her hand, his fingers fumbling over hers.

"Jadzia," he whispered and she leaned down to hear him, "have Rila start quarantine procedures. I haven't been too many places, but if this spreads..." his voice trailed off weakly and she smiled.

"Spoken like a true doctor. And like a true nurse she's already getting things ready."

"Have O'Brien..."

"Yes, we know. Everyone you've come in contact with will be examined and run through decontamination."

*No they won't. You can't examine Silver-hair.*

He managed to stay awake as Rila helped him out of his uniform and into a pair of pajamas. Then Dax and Rila got him into the isolation unit. He watched as they shimmered out of view through a transport, and then reappeared on the other side of the transparent aluminum. As they turned
away, he murmured, "Computer, dim lights."

When he listlessly turned to find a comfortable position, his eyes met a pair of glowing silver lights.

"Why...?" he managed to croak out. "This is killing..."

"Hush, my Julian. It's almost over." Her hands ran down his side. "You're strong, but even you...two more times I think. Don't worry, I have enjoyed you so much."

*Rila, Jadzia, help me! Come in here and make her go away!* Her touch was as exciting as usual and he felt himself grow hard.

"Ah Julian, we have so little time. I actually prefer to join with you, but..." Her eyes caught his and his head spun with rapture. All he was aware of was the throbbing between his legs, the urgency of the need. Her hand, hot and strong, *and I'm growing more cold and insubstantial* caressed him
through the pajamas and he arched his hips. Her other hand was on his mouth, and he cried out into it as the rapture increased. *They'll never hear me. Isn't this showing up on the monitors or can she confuse those as well?* "For me Julian," she said in a breathy voice. He convulsed with the
intensity of the orgasm, and the fog didn't drift down this time, it slammed down like a gray iron door. *Help!*

* * *

"Doctor, come on, hang on. By the Prophets, don't let go." The voice was Rila's and Carlisle the StarFleet med tech stood next to her, slapping a hypospray into her hand. Julian felt the hot rush though his veins, what the hell were they giving him. Rila was staring at the monitors and shaking
her head. "His temperature has stabilized, but every things still too depressed. Look at this, it's like something's draining the life from him." *Yes that's it, Araven, Silver-hair is stealing my soul, my life. Save me!*

They worked over him some more and then Rila shook her head. "He's not going to make it, not even the twenty minutes until Dr. Helles gets here." She leaned close to Julian. "Doctor, if you can hear me, we're going to put you in stasis." Abruptly the lights went out.

"What the..." Carlisle began. He headed for the door and Rila stood next to the bed swearing in Bajoran, her hand on Julian's neck. He could feel his pulse slow and unsteady. *So this is what happens. This is how it ends.*

The hand disappeared and he opened his eyes to tell her that he wasn't dead. Looking back at him were blinding silver lights. He looked desperately around for Rila. *What happened to her?*

"I have to have the rest of you! Now!"

*No please...don't take me...*

"Oh Julian, I'll always treasure your memory. This will last for hundreds of your little years. You want this, I can tell." He did too, again there was that maddening ache and he was as hard as steel. She bent and put her mouth on his and the touch of her lips burned him. *Oh God, I'm drowning in
fire! Lady, please don't...* But his body was already shifting to bring more of himself into contact with that burning skin. The fog hung in front of his eyes and his body strained toward the orgasm. *The one that will kill me.* There was gold *gold?* flash of light, and the darkness came down

* * *

"Doctor?" The woman's voice was soft and Julian opened his eyes, terrified that he would see silver lights. "How are you feeling?" She was an older Bajoran woman, with a kind smile and laugh lines at the corners of her eyes.

"Groggy," he answered. "What happened?"

"We're not sure, exactly," she replied. "I think Lieutenant Dax knows more than I do. All I can tell you is that you're going to be all right. You'll be tired for a few days, but once you get rested and get your weight back up, you'll be just fine."

"I'm not a very good patient," he said, with a ghost of a smile.

"That's not a problem, I'm a very good doctor." There was the hiss of a hypospray and he drifted off.

When he came to he felt more alert then he had long. Dax sat by the bed and he smiled at her. "Hi there."

"Hi there yourself. How do you feel?"

"Hungry and thirsty, and I have to..."

"Dr. Helles said you could make a quick trip to the bathroom and Ensign Carlisle is off getting you some thing to eat."

When he settled back in bed and had finished the soup Carlisle brought him, he looked at Dax. "Who was she?"

"What did you see?"

"A woman, a perfect woman. She had silver hair and pale skin, like ivory or bone. Where did she come from?"

"What we saw was a energy source," Dax said.

"You saw her? How?" he asked, confused.

"I used the sensors in Ops."

"How did you know to scan the isolation unit?"

"Garak told me to." Dax replied, looking just a little amused.

"Garak!? What did he have to do with it?"

"He came up to Ops and told me that he'd heard that you were dying." Julian shook his head in amazement. Garak's ability to know what was going on around the station was rather unnerving. "He told me that it might be a Sala'Gata."

"A Sala...what? Is that a Cardassian word?"

"Yes. The closest Earth analogy would be a succubus." Answering his look of confusion, she explained. "A succubus was a concept invented in medieval Europe, they were supposedly demons who took the form of women to lie with men. The idea was that they stole men's souls."

"That's a pretty close analogy. I felt like she was stealing my soul a piece at a time."

"The Cardassians are actually a little afraid of Sala'Gatas. Garak tried to be nonchalant, but he was worried about you. Apparently, Sala'Gatas are a rare kind of being that feed on sexual energy. They exist mostly in Cardassian space. The Cardassians have been able to deal with them since the advent of transporter technology, but they've never done any research on them. Sala'Gatas are considered too dangerous and so they're just put in stasis units. That's what we've done with the one we transported out of here."

"The gold flash," he said quietly. She raised an eyebrow. "When she was here the last time, before I passed out I saw a gold flash. I thought I was dying." He paused for a long moment and she took his hand gently. "Why couldn't I tell anyone what was going on? I kept thinking that I needed to
tell someone, but it was like there was a gap in my thought process."

"The Sala'Gata was controlling you. That's part of the process. They can't feed all at once so they establish a mind control to keep their victims from knowing what's going on."

When she was here the last time, I remember wondering what happened to Rila. She was there when the lights went out, and then Silver...the Sala'Gata was there."

"She said something threw her across the room." At his look of alarm, Dax hastened to reassure him. "She hit the wall, but she just suffered a mild concussion. Dr. Helles said she's going to be fine." She looked over Julian's shoulder. Squeezing his hand she said gently, "Garak's here, do you want to see him?"

Julian thought about it for a moment. Knowing that Garak knew what had happened to him was embarrassing, but he owed Garak his life. He nodded at Dax, who rose and made way for the Cardassian.

"And how are you doing now, Doctor?" Garak was his usual calm self, but Julian thought he saw some kind of emotion in his dark eyes.

"Tired," Julian replied. "And grateful to be alive. Thank you."

"Yes well, I told you twins were a sign of good luck."

"Good luck? I almost died!" Julian exclaimed.

"Almost, doctor." Garak smiled, and to Julian's eyes it looked a little more sincere than usual. "Well," the 'tailor' continued, "I should let you get some rest. And I'm sure you would rather look at the lovely Lieutenant than me."

As he moved to leave, Julian reached out a hand and gripped Garak's hand. "Thank you again, my friend." Garak merely nodded and quietly slipped out of the room.

"That's one complicated Cardassian," Dax said sitting down at Julian's side again.

"Is there any other kind?" Julian asked absently. The events of the past few days were beginning to become more and more real to him. He closed his eyes and wondered if he would ever be able to approach sex in quite the same carefree manner as he always had.

Dax looked at him with understanding. "This is going to take time."

He didn't even pretend that he didn't know what she was talking about. "I know." He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "I wanted her so much every time she was there, but it really was rape, wasn't it?"

"For all intents and purposes, yes it was." She sat not touching him as he lay there thinking.

"I'll be fine, eventually..." he started to say, when the full horror of what had almost happened rushed over him like a wave. He felt his eyes fill up and he turned his head.

"Julian, it's alright. You have to start somewhere."

He looked up at her and hesitantly held out a hand. She took it, exerting no pressure and he was so relived at her touch, not arousing, not hot, not cool, not insubstantial, just Dax. The tears began to come then and he let them. At some point she put her arms around him and held him lightly as he
sobbed. When the first tears had stopped he pulled back and looked at her.

"You're real." *And that's the most beautiful thing about her.*

The End


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