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A Game For Two

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"Well, there goes the last of my money." Keiko pushed her remaining chips to the large pile her husband had collected and sighed. "Let's go to bed, Miles. I'm really tired and it's getting very late."

On the other side of the poker table Julian leaned back, took another sip of his whisky and watched Miles lean over to his wife and give her a quick hug. "You're just grumpy because you've lost, honey. We should play this game more often."

"And give Molly the impression that her parents drink and gamble? I don't think so." Keiko frowned, but there was a twinkle in her eye. She got up and turned to her host, who had been observing the exchange between the O'Briens with interest. "Thanks a lot for the invitation, Data. It was really nice to be able to see you while you were on the station."

"Yeah," Miles concurred, getting up too and patting the commander amicably on the shoulder. "Gotta practice that poker face, though."

Data frowned, then nodded gravely, as he did every time someone told a joke. Julian regarded him with a smile. It really was a delightful evening - and *he* wasn't planning to let it end quite so soon.

When he'd heard of the arrival of the android officer, who turned out to be an old friend of the O'Briens, he had mostly been grateful for the diversion from all the things that were occupying his mind lately - the Dominion, the outbreak of the Porada virus on Bajor that could be hitting the station any time now... and yes, that one certain Cardassian who shared his lunch table once a week.

But as the evening progressed - and Miles' choice of whisky had been excellent as always - Julian realised he might have found the opportunity for a diversion of a much more pleasant nature. Data was not only every bit as fascinating as he remembered, but also the complete opposite of Garak: innocent, gentle, perfectly open and sincere, yet with a mysterious quality all his own. Every few minutes during the game, Julian had caught himself gazing dreamily at his host, already picturing the many ways he would prefer the rest of the night to pass.

He poured himself another glass and waved absentmindedly as Miles and Keiko took their leave. He didn't exactly know to what extent Data could function sexually - but then he couldn't imagine that Dr. Soong had taken care of all those charming details and then left out something so fundamental. Julian himself would certainly have had the greatest time equipping his creation with every technique he could possibly think of.

"You do not wish to sleep, Julian?"

Julian started, realising he had been staring at Data again, who had walked back to the table and was now cleaning it up with quick, precise movements. He picked up his whisky glass and began a stroll around the soberly furnitured sitting room. The best way to go about this, he decided, was to be completely direct.

"Data," he began, ignoring the android's previous remark, "would you mind if I asked you another personal question?"

Data sat down on the couch. He looked up at the doctor with his clear eyes and shook his head. "Not at all."

Julian took a large swig of his drink. "Are you capable of sexual arousal?" he asked, gesturing with the glass.

"Yes," Data answered calmly, "although until recently I never felt erotic desire. Whenever I was intimate with someone, it was always their initiative, not mine. However, I believe the dream program may have altered me in that respect."

This was more information than Julian had expected, especially with his mind being as fuzzy as it was. "Hold on - the dream program changed the way you feel about sex?"

Data nodded. He seemed to consider something for a moment. "I regularly have dreams with an erotic content," he said finally. "And each time I wake up afterwards feeling an unusual need to be with the person who was my sexual partner in the dream and to relive the intimacy that took place in it. I have deduced that this must be desire."

Julian's eyes widened. "Have you ever dreamed that way about me?"

Something darkened in Data's face. For the first time that night he seemed to become uneasy. "Yes," he said softly.

Julian put his glass away, walked over to the android, sat down next to him and slowly passed his fingertips over the side of Data's face. "And," he said, "are you still feeling this - desire?"

Data glanced at him and nodded again. Suddenly he looked shy, almost insecure. A thrill of excitement went through Julian. Heavens, he thought, I can do anything I want. He put a hand in Data's neck and leaned over until their lips almost touched, then whispered: "But how could a dream induce such feelings in you?"

"I believe that what we call the - dream program is - in fact a more complex - development my father - had in mind for me," the android replied, clearly with considerable effort. Julian brushed Data's cheek with his lips, then moved on to his ear. God, it really had been too long since he had enjoyed himself like this. "Go on," he breathed.

"It is possible that he - lay those circuits as a - basis for - something humans might describe as the - subconscious," Data stammered. Julian licked his ear and heard Data draw a ragged breath. "It was - probably - meant to interact with the - emotion chip..."

Julian lay his other hand on Data's chest and began to kiss his neck, amazed and enchanted by the way the android's breathing and heartbeat adapted to the stimulations. He looked up - yes, Data had closed his eyes now, too. But still he went on, with more and more difficulty: "Even without it - it seems - the activation of those - circuits has redefined - my - need - for-"

"This?" Julian moved his hand down between Data's legs and felt his own heart begin to race. That certainly was some way of defining 'arousal'.

"Yes..." Data whispered.

Julian leaned over again and kissed him eagerly. Data responded with equal passion. There was nothing to distinguish his kiss from that of a human, except perhaps that his tongue tingled slightly, like the feeling that lingers after a fizzy drink. That and the fact that it was unbelievably good. Finally Julian drew back to catch his breath, but immediately a new, wild rush of desire went through him as he saw the yearning in Data's eyes. He felt strangely triumphant, as if he possessed the magic to bring this man of circuitry and synthetic flesh to life.

He stood up and struggled impatiently out of his clothes. Data watched him intently, taking in every one of his movements before following Julian's example and taking him in his arms. They kissed deeply and hungrily, their hands exploring the contours of the other's body. The anatomical accuracy of Data's muscles and bone structure was extraordinary. Only his soft artificial skin was so perfectly smooth and unblemished it almost seemed unreal.

Julian pushed Data gently back onto the couch and knelt down before him, spreading the android's legs apart. He kissed the base of Data's throat, bit lightly on one nipple and then the other, listening with fascination to Data's gasps and sighs. Although he'd planned to tease the android a little bit more, the sight of that gorgeous cock compelled and intoxicated him. He folded his hand around it and heard Data begin to moan as he lazily traced the head with his tongue before taking it in his mouth.

The taste of it was subtle and pleasant, just like the rest of the android's skin. After a while he glanced up and noted with satisfaction that Data had leaned his head back, eyes closed and lips parted, seemingly oblivious to anything but the pleasure. His hands, that had been moving seemingly at random through Julian's hair, came to rest at the back of the young doctor's head, the strong fingers digging somewhat uncomfortably into his skull. Julian began to suck just a little bit more forcefully, marvelling at the changes that passed over the android's face as he began to approach climax.

The next moment Julian's mouth filled with a hot, thick, unexpectedly sweet liquid. It didn't come out in spurts, but slowly, allowing Julian to actually drink it. A warm, comforting glow spread through his body, like that of hot Tarkalean tea after a day of wind and water on the holodeck. You really are an incredible piece of workmanship, he thought, grinning inwardly. Remind me to take some notes in the morning.

In the meantime his own body had begun to ache for attention. He looked up, his hands sliding over Data's thighs, his eyes seeking those of the android. For some reason Data's face seemed to have become unclear, a blur of lighter and darker shades of gold. Julian squinted and tried to focus, but he could only make out the android's features as if through a haze. Perhaps he was really much more drunk than he wanted to know. He tried to rise, but the next thing he knew Data had stood up from the couch, scooped him up in his arms and carried him to the bedroom.

Julian smiled at this change of initiative and lifted his arms to put them around Data's neck. Somehow that was absurdly difficult to accomplish. His limbs seemed to have become so heavy that it took enormous effort to move them at all. As Data carefully put him down on the bed he found his body was getting warmer, too, as if he were running a temperature.

He could see Data leaning over him, seemingly observing him, clearly aware of his altered condition. Before he could say or ask anything, however, the android's cool fingertips touched his forehead and moved lightly down over his eyelids and cheekbones. Julian gasped. At Data's touch his nerves seemed to burst into flame. As the android's fingers lingered over his mouth he licked one of them and a shudder of longing went through his body.

"Data," he whispered hoarsely, "you've given me some sort of narcotic, haven't you?"

"Yes," the android answered. "I will gladly discuss its ingredients with you at a later time - but for now I suggest you allow me to make the best possible use of its effects."

Julian tried to reply, but as he felt Data's hand slide further down over his burning skin he could only struggle to catch his breath. "Oh... yes... feel free..." he panted.

His nipples hardened instantly under the android's almost painfully cold touch - was Data able to change his bodily temperature at will? - and when Data proceeded to circle each one with his tongue he strained to push up his upper body towards him, moaning softly and continuously. By the time the android's mouth had reached his loins Julian was lost in a haze of sensation and need. He groaned and clenched the sheets in his fists, gasping again like a drowing man finding air when finally Data's lips closed over his cock.

But the android used his extraordinary skill merely to fill Julian's overheated senses with more and more pleasure before letting go of him again. Julian thought he could scream, but then the android gently turned him over on his belly and lifted up his hips. He spread his legs as well as he could and supported himself on his trembling knees, feverish with anticipation.

He felt the cool, slippery touch of lube as Data's cock pressed against him. Then it softly began to vibrate. A deep, thrilling, soundless hum spread through Julian, who would have smiled if he hadn't been so maddeningly aroused. As he slowly reached up one hand and began to stroke himself, Data smoothly slid into him and the feeling grew more intense than Julian would have thought possible.

He forgot where he was, who he was, everything except the shock of pleasure that was renewed every time Data thrust into him and the warm, heavy, hypnotic purring that followed, resonating in every fibre of his body. Data kept on moving slowly, sliding entirely out of him and thrusting back into him again and again, and each time that sensation swept over him like a wave, carrying him deeper into the private darkness of his mind.

As the orgasm finally overtook him, he was, for one single moment, alone in that place where the barriers between sensation and fantasy, experience and desire dissolve and he realized, helplessly, that he was imagining someone else there behind him, inside of him, holding him, fucking him... He cried out, shuddering, while his lover began to take him harder and faster, mingling the afterglow of pleasure with pain and finally pushing deep into him, pressing against him and he could sense the shiver going through the other's body and then it was Data again, lovely gentle Data whose voice sounded as if he himself was astonished by the ecstasy.

"Tell me," Julian whispered a few moments later as they lay down in each other's arms, "how long does it take for the effects of that - substance to wear off?" He was still feeling so weak, but now in a drowsy, blissful sort of way. With some difficulty he leaned over Data and sought the android's lips with his own. They exchanged a long, languid kiss that became a world in itself.

"Considering the amount of alcohol you have consumed," Data replied finally, "I estimate at least another eighty minutes."

"Oh." Julian breathed. Apparently he was now lying on his back again. "I fear I may fall asleep before that."

"Why do you..." Data's voiced trailed off, then returned again. "Ah. Your use of the word 'fear' is not literal, but a formula expressing an apology. You indicate you will not be able to continue our sexual activity at present and wish to make clear to me that it would affect you if I were to be disappointed by this. Do not worry. I am not."

Julian smiled. "There's always tomorrow morning," he mumbled. He heaved himself back on his side, rested his head on the android's shoulder and closed his eyes.

"Inquiry," he heard Data say. His voice now seemed to come from miles away, drifting somewhere above Julian, disembodied. "Who is Garak?"

***

The next morning, after Data had left on the shuttle that would take him back to the Enterprise, Julian strolled back from the airlock at leisure, letting his thoughts roam free. The android had told him he had found the experience extremely pleasing and insightful and he would gladly renew their relations if circumstances allowed it. He had then asked whether Julian would mind if he continued this experiment with other people for whom he appeared to have developed erotic feelings. Julian had grinned. "Of course not," he had answered, "as long as you don't mind if I do the same."

He stepped off the turbolift, finding himself on the promenade. Had he told the computer that? No matter, he might as well get himself a nice cup of raktajino. Might even get it over at Quark's.

"Good morning, Doctor," a voice said behind him. Julian froze and turned around. "Ah, hello Garak," he said as cheerfully as he could, hoping he still looked as carefree as he had felt a moment ago.

The tailor smiled benignly at him and inclined his head. "I hear you've enjoyed yourself last night?"

Julian swallowed. He couldn't already know. That just wasn't possible. "The poker game you mean?" he asked. "Yes, it was very nice. I'm pleased to find I'm still in pretty good shape."

Ever so slightly, Garak raised an eyebrow. "I would not have expected anything else from you, my dear Doctor," he replied. "But how about your friend the android, if I may ask? Is he a - considerable opponent?"

"Yes, he..." Julian began. But something in the blue of Garak's eyes made him break off his sentence. "Actually, no," he went on hurriedly. "He's got a few very... unconventional tricks up his sleeve, but in the end his emotional range is simply too limited." He looked at Garak, who was regarding him intently. "There's pleasure, but there's no passion," he added, feeling the heat rising to his face.

Garak's features remained unchanged. "I see. So is there going to be a rematch?"

"Perhaps," Julian answered, "but not anytime soon. Which is a pity, because I was just getting warmed up." He looked down the promenade, his gaze passing over all the people walking and talking there. For a moment all the noises and smells seemed infinitely distant. "You - you wouldn't care to join me for a game some time, would you?" he asked quietly. Suddenly he felt ridiculous - surely he was only imagining the double meaning to their conversation.

The tiniest smile formed around Garak's lips. "I'm afraid, my dear Doctor, that I do not enjoy playing with more than one person at a time," he said. "However, if you are up for a challenge, there is an old game called fizzbin that I believe you might enjoy. I'd be glad to teach it to you."

Julian's heart beat so wildly he wasn't certain if he'd heard the Cardassian correctly. "Oh... that would be wonderful," he managed to reply.

Garak's smile broadened, though it was still the polite expression of a good-humoured, complaisant shopkeeper. "Very well. Let us discuss the details when we meet again for lunch in, ah, three days." He bowed his head a little deeper this time. "Now I'm afraid you will have to excuse me. It is high time I opened up my shop." For a fraction of a second he looked Julian directly in the eyes, his expression intense but unreadable. Then he turned and walked away.

Julian took a deep breath and continued in the direction of Quark's. He couldn't tell whether the sense of floating was caused by his vivid physical memory of Data's caresses, or by the image of Garak's smile hovering before his mind's eye - but at least he had three more days before he needed to decide.