It's late at night, and he's comfortable, curled up on Julian's couch, Julian pressed snugly up against him, and their mouths taste like kanar and wine. Stars shine through the viewports, and he's warm, for once he's warm, with Julian's body heat all along him, from head tucked into flare of neck, to bare feet intertwined with his. Life could be worse.
Julian's put on some music, something Human, a stringed instrument and a drum beat and a soft voice, and it washes over them, moves them to its beat as they trade kisses and sips. It's lazy, like they are, it moves at its own pace, it's taking its time to find its conclusion, and Garak could certainly do worse than to emulate its example, could do worse than to savour this moment, this man.
Julian kisses him, deep and sweet, and leans back, his smile almost shy; Garak smiles back at him, at how lovely he is, here in the half-dark, his eyes shining.
The music pauses, picks up a new beat, the instruments shifting subtly, the voice finding a new rhythm. Julian's face changes; his eyes close, he nods to himself, picking out the beat. "Oh," and he's almost whispering, "I love this song..."
His eyes open, his gaze suddenly intense. "Garak. Dance with me."
Mmm, unexpected, and Garak is so lazy. "Doctor, must we?" He leans in, angling for another kiss -
And Julian pulls back, smile widening, teasing. "Absolutely. This song demands dancing. Can't you hear it?"
Garak sighs, and listens, and yes, it's very nice, but Julian is much nicer, and the couch is soft - but Julian is looking at him with laughing eyes, and it's very hard to say no to him when he's making that face. It always ends with him doing whatever Julian wanted anyway. Easier tonight to give in, especially with kanar moving through his veins; easier to please.
Julian sees acquiescence in his eyes, and nods once, pleased. He slides from the couch, straightens his uniform, bows slightly and presents a hand. Garak rolls his eyes and accepts, is tugged up from the comfortable, already-missed couch to his feet.
"I don't know how to dance to Human music..."
"It's easy. I'll show you. Just follow my lead."
Garak's confused. "Your lead?"
Julian's lips purse as he thinks, and Garak would much rather explore their contours than stand here, and his patience is truly heroic; finally, Julian says, "Here, just take my hand - "
Julian's left hand reaches for Garak's right, and their fingers interlace, tightly and swiftly and so intimately, much as lovers on Cardassia might do in private; the sensation jolts up his arm, and he blinks.
"Good," and Julian takes Garak's other hand, places it upon Julian's shoulder, "rest that there, and I'll just - " And he places his hand on Garak's back, just below his shoulder blade, just where his scales end, and they're standing so close together, but touching only where their hands rest, faces looking past each other, and this is quite unexpectedly warming, familiar and strange at the same time.
"What is this called?"
"It's called a waltz. Now, follow me, follow what I do - "
Garak has no idea what to expect, and so when he feels the soft press of Julian's hand on his back, he twitches away. "What are you doing?"
A gentle sigh, a bit exasperated. "I'm trying to lead you."
"I can't see where I'm going."
Julian grins. "That's okay. That's my job. Your job is to follow, to listen to my body. You move your feet like so," and he demonstrates, forward-side-close, back-side-close, "and mirror what I do. It's not at all difficult."
"Hmph. Maybe for someone who's done it more than once."
"Maybe for someone who's not half-drunk on kanar."
"Look who's talking - how much wine have you had tonight?"
"Enough to make this seem like a good idea. Come on, try for me, please?"
Garak harumphs, just to make his point, but holds up his hands, demonstrating how very nice and willing he is; Julian chuckles, and takes his hands again.
This time, Garak knows what's coming, and he focusses on Julian's feet, watching how they move. The two of them successfully navigate a few little squares, forward and back, forward and back, moving together - stiffly, yes, but together. Garak is a bit pleased with himself. "This isn't so hard."
"This isn't waltzing."
Now he's less pleased. "You just said it was."
Julian tilts his head, groping for words. "Well, it is - but it can be so much more. Here, I'll show you - feel my hand, see if you can tell what I'm thinking."
"Stop it. Be serious."
Garak wipes the smile from his face, assumes a look of perfect innocence. Julian rolls his eyes, but he's smiling. "Okay, now pay attention."
And there it is again, that subtle pressure, just at the line between scales and skin, and heat jolts through Garak's body, along his back, down his arm, and he moves back as Julian moves forward; now Julian's hand changes its movement, a subtle caress, pulling just a little, and he's drawn forward like the tide to the moon, impossible to resist -
"Oh, you're picking this up nicely!"
And they move together, through one song, through another, Julian's fingers strong on his back, their pressure on his skin intoxicating, his other hand held so tightly by Julian's, his arm held up, he's moving only as his partner dictates, and it's so much, too much - his eyes close -
"Garak, are you all right?"
And Garak's blinking, trembling just a little, another secret revealed. "Ah... Doctor, yes, I'm well. I'm very well. Tell me, is this waltz something Humans do in public?"
Julian pulls his head back, surprised. "Of course. It's very popular - at large formal gatherings, especially. Weddings, parties, that sort of thing - what?"
Because Garak is giggling, feeling very silly, and certainly it must be the kanar, because he'd never act like this otherwise. "Doctor, I cannot - I simply cannot imagine this becoming popular on Cardassia, at least not at any sort of public event."
Now Julian's not sure whether to be affronted or not. "Why? What's the problem?"
"Oh, no problem, Doctor, none at all - but you may not be aware of the connotations that these motions might pose between Cardassian partners."
Julian's brows draw down; this isn't the first cultural misunderstanding they've encountered. "Do tell."
"Ah, Doctor, to be restrained, to be held in place, to have your movements dictated, and with such a gentle hand, with such strength behind it - " And Garak knows he's being a trifle effusive, but one must play to one's strengths, after all. "Doctor, on Cardassia, this... dance... would be considered incredibly risqué - the stuff of fantasies, of romance novels - licentious ones."
He watches Julian blush, and is delighted.
"But - but - Garak, it's a waltz, it's about as innocent as it gets!"
"Hmmmm..." and Garak is humming, singing, his body alive and thrumming, "perhaps to Humans, but to a Cardassian, so sensitive to posture, can you imagine how it feels to be gently placed into whatever position your partner desires?" He moves closer to Julian, eyes seeking the Human's, his hands rising to Julian's face. "Can you imagine how it feels to have one's control taken away, so subtly, so sweetly - and to have it choreographed?"
And now Julian's eyes are flicking back and forth as he ponders, and he bites his lip. "Garak, I didn't mean - "
"Oh, I know you didn't, Doctor, and that's what makes it marvelous." And he moves in, captures that lip between his own teeth for just a moment, runs his hands up behind Julian's head and presses him in for a kiss, hot and sweet, his body thrilling to the feeling of the younger man's response.
Julian's hands slide up Garak's sides, down to his buttocks, moving, gripping, and the kiss deepens; Garak tastes wine, and Julian's tongue flickers against his own -
He pulls away, leaving Julian gasping, and seizes the young man's hands in his own; Julian's eyes meet his, pleasure and frustration twisting in his gaze.
"Please, Doctor," and Garak smiles, flirting, laughing, promising, "won't you dance with me, just once more?"
He interlaces his fingers with Julian's own, and Julian puffs a breath, and pulls Garak to him, roughly -
And the dance goes on.