Star Trek - Deep Space Nine: The Empress's New Clothes (MF)
by Nancy Brown
That damned Ferengi! She cursed his parentage in four languages under her breath as she examined her dress uniform. There were at least twenty holes of various sizes already forming in the crimson material, with more threatening. She had been fortunate to make it back to her quarters before it had become too indecent, for which she was grateful. In her regular uniform, which she regarded as her civvies, she held the outfit in the half-light, carefully examining the deteriorating cloth.
The youth had been carrying a tray of drinks for another table, had brushed past her just as she had risen to leave. Idly, she wondered if he had finished cleaning the mess yet. Another hole began growing. What the hell had been in those drinks, anyway?
It wouldn't have been so bad if the meeting with Gul Evek weren't scheduled for the next day. It wouldn't have been so bad if the replicators on this excuse for an ex-Cardassian space station could be trusted for something as simple as coffee. Hell, if the Enterprise had still been docked, she could have beamed back aboard and had her new uniform within minutes.
A stray smile passed her lips as she imagined the captain's face when she made the request, could almost hear him thinking "Not again. I thought we were rid of her for the time being."
The thought brought a bitter mix of emotion within her. She knew that she was unpopular on the _Enterprise_, on Deep Space Nine, everywhere she went. She'd accepted that long ago as part of the deal; she had to be in control, and if it meant becoming a hard-nosed bitch in the process, so be it. There were times that it hurt a little, though, in the hidden places where she allowed the small soft part of her that remained to reside.
Back in the here and now, her dress uniform was slowly but surely dissolving in her hands and there was nothing she could do about it.
Wait. Hadn't she seen a shop along the Promenade with clothing? And wasn't it run by a ... Yes! She remembered reading Sisco's report on the subject. Of all the invading force that had raped Bajor, only one Cardassian remained, minding a little tailor's shop on the station. At the time, there had been some concern about station security, especially considering that the security chief used to work for the Cardassians. There had been more than one proposal to ban both of them from DS9. She had been responsible for several of them. Nevertheless, Sisco's report had clearly stated his trust in Constable Odo, and somehow, the issue with the Cardassian had been lost amid a new debate over something mindless. Such was Starfleet.
As far as she knew, the tailor had been permitted to stay. Now she hoped he could at least sew straight.
It wasn't difficult to locate the shop; it was the only one where there were no customers. She felt oddly relieved. She didn't like having to deal with people on a personal level. It was much easier to tell them what to do.
The shop was open, but she did not see the tailor anywhere. Feeling like an idiot, she examined a swatch of cloth in the window while passersby stared in with curiosity. Obviously, patrons were scarce. Let them stare. She didn't care much.
"Might I interest you in this paisley pattern, madam?" She tried not to appear startled at the voice suddenly in her ear. How had he managed to creep up on her like that?
"No," she said, putting her usual firmness into her voice. "I need you to make me a new dress uniform before tomorrow afternoon."
"That's a very tall order. I don't know if I can squeeze you into my tight schedule of clients." He indicated the empty room with a grand gesture, as though there were two hundred people in the shop rather than two.
She sighed. This one was just like the Ferengi barkeeper. Always out for the money. "I can pay well. I need that uniform."
The tailor inclined his head. "Then, madam, I will make sure you have it." She neither smiled nor nodded. Things were simply as they should be. "If you'll follow me for your fitting."
He led her back into a small room. There was a small raised platform in the center. At his gesture, she stepped up onto it. He picked up an old-fashioned tape measure, a pad of paper, and a pencil from a table cluttered with cloth patches and buttons.
As he wound the tape gently around her shoulders, he made small talk, an easy banter that she realized immediately was as false as his smile. "I have the pattern on file, of course. It was always my understanding that Starfleet officers brought their own dress uniforms with them."
"I did bring it with me. That Ferengi boy in the bar spilled something on it. It was more hole than uniform when I reached my quarters."
He clucked his tongue. "I imagine that would have been a sight well worth viewing." He indicated that she should raise her arms. When she complied, he wrapped the tape around her biceps, then traced a feathery light path to her wrist with the measure, pausing only to make notes on his paper. She shivered slightly.
"Are you cold?"
"Yes," she lied.
Suddenly, she heard something out in the main shop. The tailor dropped the tape and ran out front. She followed him, only to see the window display torn down and the sounds of running footsteps.
She stepped beside him. "What was that all about?"
For a moment, the facade vanished. "They want me gone, so they tear down my displays and ruin my cloth." He kicked at a multicolored pile.
"The Bajorans. The humans. It doesn't matter who does it; the ones who don't protect the ones who do." Then, like a shutter, his feelings flew closed, and he was once again the smiling businessman with his first customer in some time. "Shall we return to your fitting, madam?"
There was really nothing else to be done. They went back into the little room.
Again, she held out her arms. He brought the tape around her breasts, touching them just lightly enough to send a ripple of electricity through her body. She hoped he did not notice the way her cheeks suddenly burned for no reason, while the best biocontrol she could muster only barely kept her two best friends from standing at attention through her uniform.
She chastised herself for a fool as he moved the tape down her torso towards her waist. Had it been that long since she'd last been with anyone that even a Cardassian touching her made her want to howl? He wasn't even that attractive. He looked like every other member of his species: a sickening grey all over, with a disturbing neck stretched too far and a face that seemed outlined with a crude pencil and colored by a disturbed child. The first Cardassian she had seen had turned her stomach. The second had looked just like the first. Still, here she was standing with arms outstretched as some Cardassian whose name she could not even remember knelt before her while he ran a slender tape around her ankle, her knee, and reached between her legs to draw it against her thigh.
It was all she could do to not tremble as he pulled the tape through, touching it oh! so briefly against her crotch. The stroke was enough for her. She felt a familiar dampness and she could not bite back a gasp.
"Are you well, madam?" he asked, looking concerned. She looked down at him, still kneeling.
Their eyes locked, and for a moment, she knew him completely. Utterly alone, hated by all who saw him, abandoned by those who had once called him friend, suspected of everything, loved by none. She willed him to read the same things in her own glance, the emptiness echoed back upon itself, the loneliness of becoming real.
Without words, he nodded very slightly. Without words, she touched his cheeks lightly, just brushing against his skin as the boy had brushed against her. She traced the curl of his ridges, stroking in a symmetrical pattern that brought her fingertips down his neck and to his broad shoulders.
He lifted her hands and brought them to his lips. With an aching slowness, he placed her index finger into his warm, wet mouth and lathered it with his tongue, suckling gently as a baby. She gasped again as she felt an answering pull from her groin. He slowly transferred his attentions to each finger in turn, tasting and licking and sucking at them until she was as wet on her hands as she was somewhere else.
He reached his arms around her, and she felt the catch to her trousers come loose. She was aware of coolness as the fabric slid from her legs and down to her ankles. Her fingers played at the back of his neck, searching for and discovering the zipper to his shirt. With a slow motion of her own, she drew it down, stroking his rough back as she went.
She felt him spread open her legs, and awaited the sensation of his warm tongue inside her. Instead, he reached between her legs and placed his hand against the cleft of her buttocks. A single finger traced its line downward, stroking her wet labia, pulling away too fast. He repeated the motion, going slower this time. A third time, he put his hand through, pulled his finger down, this time tickling her clitoris before pulling free.
She barely held back a cry as he did it again. Her breathing came in silent pants. He paused just long enough to remove his shirt the rest of the way, then stroked her again and with a sudden motion, pushed his finger inside her. She bit her lip hard, as he swiveled his finger around her vaginal wall, looking for the one place that would drive her mad.
She slipped one hand down to join his, knowing well what pleasured her most, while her other hand crept up inside her shirt to stroke her aching breasts.
He pulled out of her swiftly, and she moaned almost inaudibly with it. With a single glance, she knew that it was her turn to bring him to the limit.
She grasped the edge of his pants, and with a firm tug, pulled them down his slim waist, down his legs, down to where he stepped free of them. With the same hand she'd used to pleasure herself, she took hold of his thick, knobbed penis. Using her palm and nails, she massaged it, moving up and down the shaft with almost professional timing.
She felt something new in her hand. Some of the bumps excreted a clear, slimy fluid that quickly covered her hand and the hard organ she stroked. So Cardassian males were lubricated, too. Interesting.
His eyelids fluttered, and she knew he was near the edge. He seized her shoulders, and in one movement, entered her.
She almost came from the first thrust. The bumps on his penis stimulated her clit with every movement, and brought an unspeakable pleasure inside as he began to thrust again and again. His natural lubricant reacted with her own, heating her whole vagina with friction and fiery juices.
She put her hand between them, in order to stroke the base of his shaft. He grabbed the hand, brought it to his lips, licked the palm delicately before he turned it, and pushed her fingers into her own mouth. The taste of his juice and her own mingled on her tongue.
She felt his thrusts grow faster, and thought of the people on the Promenade, wondering what she was doing in the tailor's shop. She came silently, her throat constricted to cry out a name she did not know, glasses breaking in her mind's ear. A split second later, she felt his discharge into her, whispering in his silky voice something sounding like "Julia."
They held each other, still standing, still trembling, for several minutes, merely being alone together.
It had only taken her a moment to get dressed, and she stood with him in the main shop. They had not kissed, nor said another word on the matter.
"I'll have your uniform ready by tomorrow morning."
"Thank you, Mr. ... "
"Mr. Garak." She opened her mouth to say something else, something deep and meaningful. She wanted to say that she understood what he was going through, that she knew what he felt when he returned to his quarters alone every night, with only a face in a fantasy to cuddle and love. She wanted to tell him that she cared whether he lived or died.
Before she could say anything, a Bajoran man walked in with a little boy in tow and looked around uncomfortably.
Garak gave them a polite nod, then turned back to her. "If you would like, I can arrange another fitting. To make sure everything is as it should be." There were layers to his voice. For an instant, she longed for an hour of freedom from Starfleet and responsibility, freedom to go back into his fitting room and show him what joy meant. He watched her, and his eyes were beautiful and lonely. Exile had a price to pay. They could not pay it together, even for an hour.
"No thank you. I have faith in your abilities. I'll send my aide to pick it up. Thank you again." Before either of them could do or say anything that they would later regret, she walked out of the shop.
From the corridor, she listened as he helped his first Bajoran customers in a very long time amid the latest wreckage of his only remaining home.
All her colleagues agreed that it was the finest uniform the Admiral had ever owned.