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AUTHORS’ BLANKET WARNING FOR THESE CHARACTERS: The story involving Deniaud and Salieri involves adult situations and coarse language. It is designed to be read by adults and not intended for children. Caution is advised if any of the above is offensive. WARNING TO THE WARNING: You’ve been warned. Consider yourselves fully warned.
[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Well, This is Awkward
Anastasia Wong Battey was a pretty woman with jet black hair and black irises set in her large almond shaped eyes. The science officer was a woman with healthy curves and a pleasant smile. She sighed quietly as she walked the hallway. It had been her idea that she and her husband go on a holiday to the snow-covered resort on Foudyar. It’d been a trip she was looking forward to, hoping that it’d reset their relationship to what it once was before they had gotten married. All her hopes and joys for it being a romantic getaway was dashed, however, when Jonathan informed her that he had convinced the security chief to join them. “Idiot,” she grumbled under her breath. It was only because he’d promised to treat her on a luxurious holiday with his winnings that she had hesitantly agreed. Her eyes lifted and she caught sight of her target. “Hey! Ellie!”
The engineer turned, stopping in the center of the hallway and smiling at the science officer. “Oh hey, Anya. You sticking around?”
“Not for long. Jon and I are heading to Foudyar in two hours.” Her stride was long as she sought to catch up to Marielle. “You really haven’t left the ship since we got to Earth. Parv tells me you’ve been working. He said he caught you walking in the middle of gamma shift last night and didn’t leave until he forced you?”
She chuckled sadly, not wishing to admit that the reason had been the near heart-breaking moment in the kitchen with Gideon. Unable to find any joy in baking, she had simply cleaned up the kitchen, opted to change into her uniform, and retreat to engineering to run diagnostics that didn’t need to be run. “I’m a bit of a workaholic.” She walked alongside Anya and attempted to change the subject. “I hear Foudyar is nice. You and Jon should have a good time.”
The science officer looked at her sadly. “Actually, that’s why I went looking for you.” Anya scratched the back of hand nervously. “I was wondering if you’d join us-”
Marielle stopped in the middle of the hallway, shock apparent in her face as she looked at Anya. It was nice to have another woman who shared roughly the same issues with height. “Uh- I didn’t know you and Jon were into that sort of thing- I mean- I’m flattered- But, uh, Anya- I love you and Jon like family- I can’t-”
Anya blinked. It took far longer than she wanted to admit to fully comprehend what Marielle was attempting to say. Her eyes widened and she blushed red with embarrassment. “What?! No!” She laughed loudly to shake off the fluster in her features. She tried to find a possible reason for the invitation and went with the first thing that jumped to mind. “Jon and I have been fighting a lot lately, and I’m just- I need a friend. A buffer?” The moment the words escaped her, the science officer felt a hint of sadness move through her. It seemed to be far truer than she wanted to admit to herself.
The engineer did not look convinced, but her expression softened. She hadn’t known there was problems. They’d gotten married only four months prior. Anya and Jon were supposed to be in the heart of their honeymoon. Still, she wasn’t sure if playing the third wheel would be appropriate. “I don’t know, Anya- It’d be weird if it was just me-”
“It won’t!” Anya piped up quickly. She regretted it immediately. “I- We’ll find someone! A double date?”
She wrinkled her nose slightly. “Who?” she asked cautiously.
The science officer silently cursed at her mistake but managed to shrug as if she had no clue. “I don’t know. We’ll find someone.” Anya easily pushed a pout to her lips. “Come on, Ellie. Please?”
She remained silent as she studied Jonathan’s wife. Her instincts flared up in warning. The idea of joining a possibly arguing couple on a romantic getaway with some random pick seemed entirely a bad plan. Her lips formed a thin line before she released a relenting sigh. “For the record, I’m not a fan of this plan.”
Anya quickly jumped up and wrapped her arms around the engineer. “Oh thank you! Thank you!” She released Marielle and quickly ran down the hallway, turning so she could stare at the diminutive engineer before she turned the corner. “Two hours! Shuttlebay 1! Pack warmly!”
Sighing, Marielle remained standing in the middle of the hallway. She nodded in Anya’s direction, watching as the science officer turned to disappear around the corner. Her eyes widened slightly and she stepped forward, her arm reaching up as she tried to call out to the woman. “Hey! Don’t ask-,” she called out but then stopped as she realized Jonathan’s wife wouldn’t be able to hear her. “Gods. Don’t let it be Gideon,” she murmured to herself.
* * *
Ryan walked down the hallway beside Gideon. The Chicago native glanced back toward the security department that they’d just left and he recalled Jonathan Battey pleading with him to help convince the chief to go on this trip. Winnetka had heard about the time in the kitchen, though he was sure the version he’d heard was watered down. “Hey, Sal.” He reached out to grasp the man by his arm and stop him in the corridor. “I think Jon could really use your support this time.”
The half-Bajoran glanced over his shoulder at his best friend before turning to face Ryan. Gideon couldn’t help the tired expression that seemed permanent to his features and dulled irises focused on Winnetka as he talked through the idea with himself. ‘Maybe we’re destined to just be friends. I told her I would be okay with that, but it’s a lot harder than it seems.’ He groaned quietly and shook his head.
The Chicago native dropped his hand from Gideon’s arm and clapped him gently on the back. Ryan gave no thought to the betting pool that had grown exponentially in the past few weeks. They always seemed so close but it just never happened. It helped that Jon had promised him some of the winnings if it worked. “It’s just a few days. You could use the time away from the ship.”
“She doesn’t want me. I really wish you would stop trying so hard.”
Ryan shook his head. “She’s there for Anya, you’re there for Jon. You know they’ve been fighting?”
Gideon sighed and nodded. “Yeah, I know.” He swallowed all of his arguments and shook his head again. “I would think they’d want the time alone to figure it out, not to be bothered with anyone else.” The security chief turned and continued walking down the hall.
“Shuttlebay 1 in an hour, Sal.” The junior security officer watched as the half-Bajoran shrugged one shoulder and disappeared around the corner.
* * *
Marielle crossed the threshold of the shuttlebay, her leather travel bag held firmly in one hand and her jacket draped over her arm. The loose and warm green sweater draped over one side to leave one shoulder bare, white jeans hugging her legs, and knee-high brown boots hugged her calves. Her hair was pulled up into a messy bun and a homemade dark green scarf hung from around her neck. She lingered just beyond the proximity sensor as she considered turning back. “This is an idiotic idea,” she muttered to herself as she looked at the shuttle in the bay. The door was open, and she assumed it was the one meant for the Batteys’ trip. “I hate blind dates, and this is like- A blind weekend.”
He was already waiting on the shuttle, as if confining himself to the space would prevent him from changing his mind at the last moment. Gideon was seated in one of the chairs at the front with Jonathan already in the seat next to him. He was hunched over with his elbow resting on the arm of the chair and his forehead resting in his fingers. The Betazoid mix reached forward and tapped on the console in front of him when Battey requested it. “How long is it to Foudyar?”
Anya rushed through the doors, nearly bumping into Marielle. “Ah!” she exclaimed loudly. She laughed nervously. “Ellie! Oh good. You came!”
The engineer gave the woman a small smile. “Yeah-”
“Good!” Not wishing to give the diminutive woman a chance to back out, Anya pressed her hand into Marielle’s back, shuffling her overnight bag so she could manage the attempt, and began to push her towards the shuttle. “Let’s go.” She was sure to use her body as a barrier to the door.
“About three hours,” Jonathan replied. His gaze shifted toward the door and he smiled when he saw Marielle and Anya approaching. “You’ll love it.” The junior security officer turned his attention back to the controls to continue preflight checks.
Gideon quietly grumbled his response. All he could think of was that three hours was too short a time to escape into his box. ‘Gods, now you’re acting like you’re scared of El like you are of Tasse.’ The security chief furrowed his brows at himself and shook his head. ‘She rejected me. How stupid I was to think she’d be different than anyone else.’ His eyes closed as he groaned quietly.
“Gods, Anya. I’m moving. I’m moving,” she grumbled as she stepped into the shuttle. She threw her travel bag onto her seat. Her gaze lifted to the cockpit and she opened her mouth to greet Jonathan and the person they’d picked for her. “Hey Jon,” she called out as brightly as she could. Her eyes swept to the man seated next to the junior officer, her gaze settling on the back of his head. ‘Might as well be personable.’ “Hey,” she called out, believing the man to be someone she hadn’t met. Her hand was offered. “I’m Ell-”
‘Friends,’ he murmured to himself as he turned the chair. His body straightened so that he wouldn’t appear closed off. Gideon let his gaze move over the engineer and when he looked at her eyes, he found he could meet them. A sad smile pulled at his features as he played along. “Pleased to meet you, El. I’m Gid.” He leaned forward to stand and took her hand to shake.
The introduction died on her lips instantly as she realized it was Gideon. The warmth of his hand around hers travelled through her arm. The touch was so innocent but it set off the familiar fluttering in her stomach. It was pleasant but laced with a strange tension. Her gaze moved among the other two occupants of the shuttle. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to scream at Anya and Jonathan for what she was perceiving to be a cruel joke, but they had no clue what had transpired between her and the security chief. ‘Though, I’m sure he’s already told them.’ She pushed a guarded smile to her lips as she nodded to the half-Bajoran. She pulled her hand from his grasp and turned, shooting Anya a quick glare, before she grabbed the handle of her bag to toss it to the floor. She settled in her seat and glanced out the window. ‘You’re going to owe me big time, Anya.’
He dropped back into the chair without voicing his despair and turned to face the console. His gaze was focused on the controls and he noted that all the checks were complete. Gideon lifted his gaze toward Battey and raised his brows.
Jonathan smacked Gideon’s bicep with the back of his hand. He smiled at his friend as if nothing was awry. “You mind moving? I was thinking Anya would want to sit there.” He grinned and shrugged innocently. “Wife and all.”
‘The frak are you lying about?’ His jaw clenched as he considered telling the man no. ‘This is too forced. I don’t like it.’ Gideon shook his head in agreement with himself and pushed to his feet. The security chief relinquished the chair to Anya and stood at the back of the shuttle. He slid his hands into his pockets and watched Marielle from the corner of his eye. ‘Che cazzo. What happened?’ His chin dipped to his chest as he sighed.
She kept her eyes to the window, though she caught the faint reflection on the surface. ‘This just isn’t right,’ she lamented. It was sure she’d lost a best friend and the thought saddened her greatly. ‘Merde. How did it get this bad?’
* * *
“I told you I packed it!” argued Anya as she glared at Jonathan.
The Philly native huffed angrily as he continued to dig through their bag. “I’m telling you that you forgot it!”
“Well, maybe you stopped man searching-”
“Man searching?” he interrupted her quickly, his chin lifting as he snapped a glare at her.
Anya roughly grabbed the handle of the bag and pulled it onto her lap. “Yes!” she all but screamed. “Man searching! Using your mouth and not your eyes.”
Marielle leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling. Her fingers were curled on her lap, nails scratching lightly against the fibers of her pants. It’d only been an hour into the trip and the married couple seemed to argue about every little thing. She had no idea how anyone could fight so much. “This is so damn awkward,” she murmured under her breath, not realizing she’d given voice to her thoughts. “This is the fifth stupid argument in an hour.”
He shook his head as he listened to the married couple arguing. Gideon remained on the opposite side of the shuttle from Marielle and his gaze was focused on the space that they travelled through. His eyes closed as he was assaulted by the rising emotions from within the vessel. The junior security officer was defensive and angry. The science officer was insistent and angry. And the engineer was anxious. The half-Bajoran stood up with the intention of moving into the cockpit to separate the Batteys.
Jonathan watched his wife as she dug through the interior of their travel bag. “See!” he smirked. “Told you that you forgot it!”
The science officer grumbled under her breath. “I didn’t forget it!”
With their argument still in full swing, the security chief found he didn’t want to approach them. His steps carried him across the width of the shuttle and he sat down next to Marielle. “Please tell me you have music,” he whispered desperately.
The engineer glanced quickly at him, her eyes widening at the suggestion. “Gods. You’re brilliant,” she murmured in response. “Got earpods?” She turned to grab her bag. It was lifted and placed on her lap, the zipper pulled quickly. Her hand disappeared into its depths as she rifled blindly for a PADD and her earpods.
He shook his head in response. “I could replicate them, unlike some people on this shuttle.” Cobalt lifted toward Jonathan and Anya in silent accusation. Gideon grumbled to himself quietly before holding his hand out toward the engineer for one of the earbuds. Their shuttle didn’t have a replicator, but he was referring to when they reached the resort.
Anya lifted her hand triumphantly from the depths of their travel pack and waved the small pleasure device in her husband’s face. The smirk on her lips was smug as she leaned forward. “MAN SEARCHING!” she exclaimed triumphantly. The pink tubelike device buzzed in her hand as her fingers pressed against the side accidentally. “I told you I frakking packed it!” She waved her hand theatrically, the pink bobbing from side to side as she flailed her arms.
Her timing couldn’t have been worse. Marielle blanched when her head lifted to look at the item that had caused the argument between the Batteys. “Oh gods,” she gasped as she quickly looked down and attempted to find her device. “That’s not- They couldn’t have been arguing about-” This was just not a mental image she wanted.
Gideon glanced up to follow her gaze and he blinked at the sight. One brow raised and his head tilted slightly as his attention shifted from the toy, to the science officer, and then to his friend. ‘It’s only two nights. Only two nights.’ His body inadvertently shifted toward Marielle.
Jonathan visibly relaxed. He quickly reached up and pulled Anya’s arm down. He grabbed the pink device and stuffed it into the bag, choosing to believe that the other occupants to their shuttle didn’t see. “I’m so sorry crumble cakes,” he apologized to the science officer, his expression quite contrite.
The open bag rested on her lap and she crossed her arms as she turned her head to look out of the shuttle. She was still rather cross with her husband. “Don’t crumble cakes me, Mister!”
‘Crumble cakes? Gods, this was the worst idea ever.’ Gideon leaned forward and rested his head in his hands. ‘I’m going to learn far more about Jon and Anya than I ever wanted to. Cazzo.’
At the nickname, Marielle lifted her head. Her brows furrowed as she wrinkled her nose. “Crumble cakes?” she whispered. She leaned slightly towards her best friend, no thought given to the tension that existed between them. “Did he just call her crumble cakes?”
The junior officer pouted as he pulled the bag off Anya’s lap and tried to pull her to his lap. “Come on. What can sexy T-Rexy do to get his favourite cave girl to forgive him?”
“Dei, è un po 'disgustoso, (Gods, that’s kind of disgusting.)” he grumbled as he straightened. Gideon looked toward Marielle with a quick nod and he reached his hand out again. His fingers curled as he motioned toward her to hurry. “I have ear plugs for the other ear if you want.”
“Get them,” she murmured as her head simply nodded furiously. Marielle looked down as she continued to search through her bag. “Gods. One minute they’re fighting and the next-”
He leaned down and grabbed the overnight bag he’d packed. From one of the outer pockets, Gideon retrieved a plush pair of ear plugs. His fingers grasped one and it was pushed into his ear canal. The other was offered toward Marielle as he leaned forward again to replace the bag under the chair.
His wife fought him slightly, but there was no real hesitation. Jonathan’s arms wrapped around her waist and he began to kiss her arm. “Pork chop. Poopsie. Poopsie bear. Snicky boom boom.” He grinned when Anya giggled. “My Sugar Booger. My Pudgy Pops.”
The science officer laughed as she wiggled on her husband’s lap. “Stop it, Papa Bear,” she playfully pushed him back.
“Not until you forgive me, Schmoopie,” Jon insisted as he pulled her closer and continued to trail kisses along her arm.
Marielle whined softly. “Gods. Did they forget we’re even here?” she muttered quietly as she pulled out the PADD and then a set of earpods. The bag was dropped and kicked under her chair. She gave Gideon an appreciative nod as she took the ear plug while offering one of her ear pods to him. She made the mistake of looking up as she pushed the plug in one ear and the sound pod in the other. She watched as the Batteys essentially started feeling the other up while they proclaimed their love.
“I love you, my Cuddle Bunny.”
“I love you more, Sugar Lips.”
“Nuh uh, Monkey Tush.”
“Che cazzo,” he muttered as he shook his head. Gideon quickly plugged his ear with the sound pod and gave Marielle a thankful nod. There was silence, but it was so blissful. He could still feel his stomach churning from the amount of sweetness that hung in the air.
Her head dipped to the PADD and she quickly offered it to the chief after she set the first song. She simply wanted to drown out the words quickly. When he declined the device and motioned that she could choose, she shook her head and slowly swiped her hand through the selection. Whenever he nodded, she simply added the song to the playlist. Marielle made the mistake of looking up and her eyes widened as Anya and Jonathan simply forgot that she and Gideon were seated in the back of the shuttle. She lowered the device to their laps so that they would be forced to keep their eyes down. Her body leaned into his to keep the thin wire between their sound pods from stretching. Eventually, she could blissfully forget that she was stuck on a three hour trip with possibly the worst couple in existence. ‘Thank goodness for ear plugs. Good thinking, Gid.’
His body relaxed as the music continued to play into his ear. Gideon’s head fell back against the bulkhead and his eyelids fell shut. A relieved sigh passed from his lips as the tension in the air seemed to immediately dissipate. He knew there was still something between him and Marielle, but for the moment, it was gone. The half-Bajoran lifted his arm and gently draped it over the engineer’s shoulders so that they would be comfortable for the duration of the journey. There was a second in which he froze upon feeling the diminutive woman stiffen at his touch. The security chief frowned and grunted quietly to himself, but he remained close to her. ‘Friends, stupid.’ He relaxed further and focused on the music to keep from losing himself in his negative emotion.