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“My. Dear. Julian.” Every deliberate word was matched by an intentional stroke of cold steel. The tip of the blade left a tiny stinging fire in its wake as it travelled from clavicle to elbow. Julian held himself meticulously still, acutely aware of the dangers inherent in moving even a little bit.

“Yes, sir?” The rules of this little game were straight forward, if at times intentionally obtuse. The dangerous tone to his voice was enough to send a shiver up Julian’s spine. It would be foolish to ever think that he was safe during these games, though he was certain that any harm Garak did him would not be irreparable. Still. The blade travelled lower, and the bright line of blood that appeared along his hip drew a gasp as he fought to keep from moving.

“Did you think I would be pleased with this?” He gestured to the garish shirt hanging open from Julian’s shoulders, in tatters where his blade had already loosened seams. The pants had met a similar fate, bright blue satin pooled around his ankles.

“I was making… An attempt.” Julian chose his words carefully, though he knew there was no getting around this. When Garak was in one of these moods, well. He had worn that outfit on purpose. The day in the infirmary had been long, a patient lost. He’d failed. Garak did not know that, but coming home to see Julian’s outfit had been enough.

“An attempt?” The blade drew another line of fire along Julian’s thigh. “An attempt at giving me a headache?” The flat of the blade pressed chill against his chest before sliding up to slit the seam along the shoulder. The orange brocade ripped a little further as Julian swayed.

“An attempt to impress you… sir.” He didn’t temper his tone; and the blade descended again. Julian felt blood trailing down his thigh and he gave in, shimmying to still the itch as it dried.The blade pressed at his breast bone in warning.

Garak’s laugh was chilling in the best way. Julian bit his lip as the tailor finally divested him of the last of his shirt. “My dear… If you wanted to play, all you had to do was ask.” The blade continued with shallow slices and Julian closed his eyes. Garak’s blade kissed him with a tenderness he could barely comprehend. Maybe one day he would feel forgiven, but for now, this would be enough.