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Good Night Moon, Good Night Stars

USS Aldrin Lounge


by First Lieutenant Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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Stardate: 1708.11
Good Night Moon, Good Night Stars


“I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.”
- H. P. Lovecraft [The Call of Cthulhu]


He’d been in the gym for hours.  Twice he thought he’d tired himself enough to fall into a dreamless sleep, but during his walk of the corridor, his mind raced to darker places.  Gideon’s third attempt had him running full bore on the treadmill, his chest heaving and sweat making his clothes stick to his body.  No matter how hard he tried to concentrate on his long strides, his nightmares closed in.  He yelped at a figment of his imagination and slammed his hand onto the control to stop the machine.  Fingers gripped at the bars as he nearly draped over the console with his physical exhaustion.

The lights to her quarters were off and the stars provided a gentle glow in an otherwise dark room.  Marielle sighed softly as she leaned her forehead against the cold glassy surface of the porthole.  Her eyes closed as she attempted to ignore the walls and how they seemed to close in on her.  Without her music or her favourite marker or any access to her research, she couldn’t distract herself.  She was left in a small room and the shadows.  “Comment suis-je censé survivre à cet endroit?  (How the hell am I supposed to survive in here?)” she grumbled softly to herself.  She drew on the breathing and mind exercises the ship’s counselor advised her to use, dove into her mind as she imagined the sweeping pull of her violin strings.

The security officer groaned quietly to himself and cursed whichever officer had decided that his luenalin was not medically necessary for him.  The half-Bajoran stumbled away from the exercise equipment and made his way to the community lavatory for a sonic shower.  He found it less than satisfying, even after a freshly replicated change of clothes, and resigned himself to his nightmares.  “Computer, locate Marielle Deniaud,” he requested quietly as he walked the corridor.  The response was given, but he barely heard.  Knowing where the engineer was when he felt the despair closing in helped him to know that she was safe.  Without realizing, he walked to her doorway and his hands gripped the doorframe on either side to steady himself.  He rested his forehead against the cool metal of her door.

“I can’t stand this anymore,” she grumbled under her breath.  She slipped one of the issued off-duty shirts over her head and shorts over her hips.  “I can’t-  Why would they build these rooms so small?”  Her hand slammed into the panel of her door and she practically ran out of her room.  Not realizing that someone was standing just outside her door, the physicist grunted when she slammed into solid muscle and stumbled back.  “Oof!  What the frak-!” she exclaimed as she fell on her behind, the words dying on her lips when she saw the security chief.  “Gideon?”

His eyelids peeled open and dulled cobalt stared down at the woman on the floor.  Gideon blinked and shook his head briefly before he stepped forward and leaned down to offer his hand to her.  “I’m sorry,” he murmured as he helped Marielle to her feet.  The fog of his exhaustion quickly cleared and a hint of pink colored his neck and cheeks.  “I couldn’t sleep.”  Upon feeling her fingers in his, the Betazoid mix’s uneasiness melted.  Without thought, his grip tightened gently around her hand, as if letting her go would make him lose sight of reality.

The light from the hallway disappeared, leaving the pair in the shadows.  She dusted her behind with her free hand and looked up at Gideon.  Her hand remained in his grasp and her head leaned to one side as she studied him.  The dim light from the stars beyond her porthole lit the lines of his jaw.  ‘He is rather handsome, isn’t he?’  The thought made her smile.  “I can’t blame you,” she sighed and her chin dipped to her chest.  “I’m having issues too.”  Marielle gave him a sheepish and embarrassed glance.  “The-  The walls are closing in on me.”

Gideon took a step back, but kept a hold of her hand.  “You want to walk the corridor?  Where were you headed?”  His body turned while he waited for her response.  ‘What a pair we make.  I’m afraid of the dark and she’s afraid of small spaces.’  Admitting his fear was easy.  The hard part was living with himself when the dark was his only companion - and it happened every night.  There was no escaping it.  ‘Except when she’s there.’  His brows furrowed minutely as he wondered why his subconscious silenced in the engineer’s presence.

“I was going to try and get to the turbolift,” she admitted softly.  “I thought that maybe if I got to the transporter, I could get back to the Aldrin and-  Well, not be here.”  Marielle remained in place.  The panic that had grown steadily since their room assignments seemed to diminish in his presence.  The chill of the shadows seemed to melt away with him in the room.  She felt warm and instantly comforted by his presence.

Since she hadn’t moved, he assumed that she no longer desired to make her way to the turbolift.  The security chief was minutely glad for that decision, because then he wouldn’t need to caution her about the harsh consequences for attempting to leave the deck.  Gideon stepped closer and wrapped his arm around her shoulders while he lifted their joined hand to his chest.  His chin dipped to rest his cheek on her raven hair.  Any passing remarks lost voice before he could open his mouth, so he simply held her.

She leaned against him and sighed softly as her panic seemed to melt instantly while she was in his embrace.  “I’m so tired,” she murmured into his chest.  When her cheek pressed into his chest, she blinked and pulled back slightly.  A soft laugh tumbled from her lips.  “Why are you damp?”  Her chin lifted as she looked up at him.

“I’ve been running,” he answered as he tilted his chin so that he could meet her flawless emerald gaze.  The response was both literal and figurative in nature, but he still felt some shame for allowing the nightmares to keep him awake.  Gideon loosened his hold around her in case she felt some disgust for his residual sweat.  The irony that they’d been blissfully damp before was not lost on him, but he couldn’t bring himself to chuckle at the idea.

“Did it work?” she asked softly.  “I’ve been trying not to freak out since after dinner.”  Marielle glanced around in the darkness.  “I don’t know why they had to make the rooms so small.  I suppose I should be glad they didn’t stick us with roommates.”  She leaned into him and wrapped an arm around his side, her hand settling on his back.  Her fingers curled into his shirt and gripped at the fabric.

He hummed quietly in acknowledgement of her statements and nodded in agreement.  When it became apparent she wasn’t put off by the dampness of his shirt, he tightened his arm around her shoulders to hold her against him.  “I might have been able to pass out standing outside your door.”  Gideon offered her a lopsided grin as embarrassment flashed in his features.  “It helped sometimes to know where you were.”

Marielle blinked and looked up at him.  “What?  Why?”  Her brows furrowed in confusion.  There hadn’t been any time to talk after their night together.  Their arrival at the Kupier Station took priority.  A hint of pink pulled at her features as she recalled their evening together.  Despite the shadows and the dim light, the diminutive woman’s chin dipped to her chest as she hid her blush.

“Just to know you’re safe,” he explained quietly.  “I’ve done it since the Lorelei.”  Gideon glanced down at the engineer to be sure that his revelations hadn’t creeped her out.  It had become a habit after Marielle returned from Atlantis, but it gained extra meaning after the incident at Drikaana.  ‘That’s not stalkerish at all,’ he chided himself for admitting it.  ‘I wasn’t stalking, I swear.  Just pining pathetically.’  He smiled feebly in an attempt to keep her from freaking out about it.

She gave him a small smile and her gaze settled on his shirt.  The physicist battled with herself a bit as she attempted to reason with herself.  There was comfort in his presence, a warmth with Gideon that eased away the frigidness of her fears.  “Listen, Gid,” she managed in a whisper.  “This is embarrassing, but, uh, would you mind staying?”  Her fingers curled into his shirt.  “I don’t think I can fall asleep if I think the walls are closing in on me.”

“Well, embarrassing for me, too,” he assured her quietly.  “I was working up the courage to ask-  May I hold you while you sleep?”  Gideon grinned sheepishly.  “I was going to go ask Ryan if you say no.”  It was the truth and he was a bit uneasy in mentioning it, but he wanted the engineer to know that she wasn’t the only one with a silly favor to ask.

“You were going to ask Ryan if you could cuddle with him?”  Marielle blinked as the mental image flashed in her mind.  A bright peal of laughter tumbled easily from her lips.  “Oh, goodness.  Would he be the big spoon?”  She stepped away from him as she laughed, her legs carrying her to her bed.  Her fingers curled into the hem of her shirt and she managed to lift it a few centimeters before she realized that doing so would leave her in nothing more than her undergarments.  ‘Well, it’s not like he hasn’t seen it already, but maybe that was just a one time thing, and who knows.’  Her fingers smoothed the fabric over her abdomen instead.

His smile pulled at the corners of his lips as he shook his head negatively.  The security chief moved slowly to follow the diminutive woman.  “No.  But he would probably be with Cana, so my second choice was Battey.”  Gideon stood near the foot of the bed as he watched Marielle.  “But he’s probably with Anya, Jessup with Thiross, and so on and so forth.”  He leaned his leg slightly to rest against the edge of the bed so he knew where it was within the faint light.

She turned, sat on the edge of her bed, and looked at the security chief.  The image of Gideon sandwiched between Anya and Jonathan had her laughing again.  “If he’s her sexy T-rexy, I wonder what nickname she’d give you-  Unless Jon’s giving you a nickname,” she teased.  She turned, settling on the mattress on her hands and knees as she pulled at the covers.  

The half-Bajoran’s head shook furiously with his denial.  He reached over his head to pull the t-shirt from his torso and draped it over the back of the chair nearby.  “No, no,” he corrected her.  “Jon would be in the middle.  No nicknames for me.  Gid is fine.”  His gaze moved over the twin size bed as he considered how they would position themselves.  He knew he would prefer to have his back to the wall, but he wanted to give her the opportunity to settle before he barged in.

She looked up to tease him, her breath hitching slightly at the sight of him shirtless.  ‘Gods.  That’s just not fair.’  The soft light beyond the porthole only served to highlight the peaks and valleys of his muscles.  “Kissy kibbles?” she made kissy noises in teasing.  “Pudgy pops?  Snuggle sausage?”  She giggled quietly.  “Cuddle Chutney?”

“I’ll be your snuggle sausage,” he retorted with a smirk.  He lowered to his knees behind her and bumped her backside with his pelvis before reaching over her back for the covers.  The tease was done without any sensual intent despite its lewd meaning.  The security chief hadn’t even let the thought cross his mind.  He just wanted to hold her.

Marielle’s head lifted and she stared at the wall directly in front of her.  ‘Don’t think dirty thoughts.  Don’t think dirty thoughts.  Don’t think dirty thoughts-  Damn, that’d be fun.’  She silently cleared her throat before glancing back and staring at him from over her shoulder.  She laughed softly.  “I thought you were tired.”  The diminutive woman pulled the covers completely before she settled on the mattress.  She waited until he slid past her to rest by the wall before she started to adjust the sheets over their bodies.

Gideon positioned one arm underneath the pillow and his other draped over her side as his body easily melded against hers.  ‘Well, I guess we went there anyway.  Snuggle sausage.’  He turned his chin so that his cheek rested against the back of her neck.  “I am tired,” he murmured quietly.  “But there’s tired and there’s tired.  I was just going to ask to hold you, but you had your ass in my face.  I couldn’t resist.”  The half-Bajoran hummed quietly and breathed in deeply of her scent.  Wild orange and plum blossoms mixed perfectly with peony and orchid to create her fruit and floral musk.  ‘It must be the lavender that soothes me,’ he mused to himself as the hint of the aroma relaxed him further.

She pulled the blanket over her shoulder and curled her legs slightly.  Her body was flushed against his.  She buried her face into her pillow and took in a filling breath to calm herself.  At his words, she quickly turned to face him.  Her hand came up and she smacked him hard on the forehead.  “My ass was not in your face,” she argued, her nose wrinkling, and her lip pushed out into a playful pout.  “You take that back,” Marielle paused then a smirk pulled at her features when she added, “Schmoopy.”

He winced and blinked his eyes open, somewhat startled by her being so close when he recalled her back to him just moments before.  His chin dipped as cobalt met flawless emerald and he considered her request.  Gideon’s features blanched slightly at the cutesy nickname, but he shook his head.  “What would be so wrong with your ass in my face?  You have a nice ass.  I would very much enjoy you sitting on my face.”  He delivered his argument with a straight face despite the hint of playfulness in his voice.

Marielle blinked several times when she wasn’t sure if she’d heard correctly.  Her hand came up and her finger flicked him on the forehead.  The strike was gentle and playful.  “Did you come here to sleep or-”  She stopped and her face grew bright red.  “Just go to sleep, silly.  It’s late.”  She turned again so that her back was to him, her legs curling and her face burying into her pillow.  

He adjusted to her once again with his cheek resting upon her neck.  “I came to sleep with you,” he murmured innocently.  ‘Not like that!  Totally not like that, I swear it!  Cazzo.’  Gideon tensed slightly as he realized how that came out and he groaned quietly.  “Sleep next to you,” he corrected quickly.  “I can sleep with you in my arms,” he mumbled to further explain.  “Mandi i miei demoni a bada, (You keep my demons at bay.)” he whispered into her hair.

She blinked and stared at the far wall.  She bit down on her lip as she chose to believe his correction.  They hadn’t had a chance to discuss the nature of their relationship, but she chose to believe the security chief was sincere in his intentions.  ‘Once training over, we’ll probably talk about it,’ she reassured herself.  She nodded in silent agreement to his revelation and leaned back slightly so that her back was flush against his chest.  “Bonne nuit, Gédéon,” she murmured into her pillow.

“Bonne nuit,” he repeated quietly.  The simple phrase was easy enough to mimic without absolutely slaying the pronunciation.  He did have an Italian accent to the words.  Gideon curled into the diminutive woman and his eyelids closed heavily.  With the woman in his arms, there were no thoughts of the terrors that haunted him.  “Thank you,” he whispered softly as he fell into slumber.

   
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