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[JL Denaiud/Salieri] Roots & Branches: The Salieris, Part 1

USS Aldrin Lounge


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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Stardate: 1701.20
Roots & Branches: The Salieris, Part 1

Gideon sighed softly, his knee bouncing as he glanced over Marielle as she sang softly, his eyes searching out the window.  The familiar coastline was looming in the distance and a feeling of dread was tightening in his stomach.  The security chief rubbed his palms against his linen pants before leaning back, turning his cobalt gaze to Marielle.  “Keep Starfleet low key,” he muttered, asking the favor again of the researcher.

She hummed the soft melody when it hit the instrumental portion of the song.  It filled the confines of the small shuttle as she stared at Gideon briefly, her eyebrow lifting in question.  Marielle said nothing as she wondered if he knew what he was asking of her.  Starfleet was who she was, her dreams and ambitions tied everything to the organization.  “Round my hometown.  Memories are fresh,” she sang the refrain softly, her head bopping to the melody that played in her head as she turned her attention back to the window.  “Round my hometown.  Ooh the people I’ve met are the wonders of my world.”

“Low key,” he clarified quietly, his dazzling blue eyes pleading.  “Geo’s not a fan,” Gideon explained.  When she returned to singing, he pursed his lips together in a hum and glanced back out the window as the shuttle hovered toward the earth.  He stood as the shuttle landed, collecting himself with a deep breath before reaching down to pick up both their bags.  The half-Bajoran shouldered his and carried Marielle’s in his left hand, reaching for her with his right.  The sound of her voice soothed him greatly.

She squeezed his hand as she glanced at the wisest member of their trio.  The researcher gave her a small smile before turning her attention to Gideon.  Though she stopped singing, Marielle simply continued humming while her head moved a bit with the music she created.  She settled the leather strap of her large striped canvas bag over her shoulder and began to exit the shuttle.  When she found Gideon unwilling to move, she lingered briefly to stare up at him.  

Nonna had returned the smile easily before standing and collecting her light bag.  She stepped around Gideon and Marielle, leaving the shuttle once the door opened.  The elder Bajoran nodded toward their pilot and took a couple steps toward the villa, looking up at the the red plaster facade from the bottom of the driveway.

“Gideon,” Marielle looked up at the security chief, “it’s beautiful outside.”  She smiled brightly up at him, though there was a kindness to the sparkle in her eyes.

He took in another deep breath as if snapped from a daze.  Gideon lowered his chin as his eyes found Marielle’s and he smiled, squeezing her fingers.  “It’s beautiful wherever you are,” he claimed with a wink before stepping out of the shuttle with her.

“I think you’re starting to wear me down.  That didn’t sound like a line,” she teased as she giggled at the compliment.  “Almost.”  Marielle blinked as her eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight.

He chuckled and shook his head.  “I’ll get there,” he relented as he turned his chin up to the villa.  His other hand rested over Nonna’s shoulder and gave her a gentle squeeze.  The three of them started the walk up the drive.

“It’s beautiful.”  Marielle glanced around the property.  She smiled at the view and took in an appreciative inhalation of the ocean air.

Gideon pointed as they approached.  “They added the third story when Rosaria was born and they decided to cohabitate.  Second story was expanded too, but you’d never be able to tell, they did very well on it.”  He motioned toward the right, where white stone lined the terracing.  “There’s some green flat space where the kids play and a pool over there.”

The chief researcher listened as Gideon explained the property, her eyes following his finger as he pointed to the villa.  “Interesting.”  A warm breeze moved through their trio, and she brushed back the strands of hair that whipped around her chin.  Her hand moved to smooth out the fabric of her long chiffon white floral summer dress.  The modest v-neckline was decorated by an orange and red floral print, the sash sitting just under her waist and the sleeves reaching her elbows.  Red stilettos gave her the height she craved and a splash of colour.  Her burgundy ribbon was fashioned into its tidy bow at the tail of her rope braid.

Three figures came into view at the top of the driveway, with two more following close behind.  The squeal of children laughing filled the air as a young girl, about eight years old, and a boy, about six, came around the legs of the adults, rushing toward Nonna and Gideon.  “Nonna!” cried Rosaria.  “Uncle Gideon!” yelped Matteo.

Nonna lowered her bag and outstretched her arms, oomphing lightly when the young girl grasped her into a hug.

Gideon gently squeezed Marielle’s fingers before releasing them and kneeling to accept Matteo in a flying hug.  Chuckling with joy, the security officer stood up, kissing his nephew on the temple before simply holding him in a hug.  He felt the boy’s hand snuck underneath his shirt, tiny fingers feeling along the scars on his back.  The half-Betazoid shifted Matteo in his arm but did not shrug off his fingers, instead reaching out with his now free arm to hold Rosaria against his side.

Bacna smiled warmly as she laid a hand on Marielle’s arm briefly before stepping to Gideon and taking Matteo from his arm.  “Where’s my hug, Matteo?”  The Bajoran giggled softly when the young boy gave her the affection she’d requested.

“Rosaria, Matteo, I’d like you to meet Marielle.”  He bent down and leaned close, whispering into Rosaria’s ear, which caused her eyes to light up as she grinned widely at the physicist.

Marielle kneeled down to meet the children at their level.  She leaned forward and placed a kiss on each of Matteo’s cheeks.  “Bonjour monsieur.”  She then did the same to Rosaria.  “Bonjour mademoiselle.”  She hummed in thought as she glanced at both of them, the melody sweet as she appeared to be thinking as she tapped her chin with her manicured finger.  “You look like wonderfully inquisitive types.  Perhaps both of you could assist me with something.”

Rosaria nodded eagerly, obviously pleased to be treated as the adults treat each other and not like kids, stepping closer to Marielle.  Matteo, not to be outshined, also nodded.  “What do you need help with, signora?” the younger boy asked.

The researcher grinned at Matteo as she placed her large tote bag on the floor.  She pulled out two medium sized boxes and handed one to each children.  “In those boxes,” she began with wonder in her voice, “are wonderful contraptions.  You must tell me how they work.”  Marielle smiled brightly at each one, her expression bright and warm as the children stared at the boxes curiously.  She stood up and lightly ruffled Matteo’s hair as the children looked to each other and then took off inside, eager to get to work.

The other three adults stood about ten feet away, quietly watching.  The older man on the left had a passive expression on his face, his eyes constantly looking toward Gideon with thinly veiled disgust.  The tallest of them stood in the middle.  He looked to be the same age as Gideon or a bit older, his hazel eyes watching Marielle cooly.  A woman stood on the right with her hands held in front of her.

Marielle glanced up at Gideon and could only smile at him.  “I think I discovered who the most handsome Salieri is,” she teased.  “Matteo.”

Gideon chuckled softly as his thoughts were pulled from the three standing at the top of the drive, his eyes averting to find Marielle staring at him.  “Matteo?” he said at the same time she answered the same.  The security chief winked and nodded as she giggled.  “Couldn’t agree more.”  His hand rested on the back of her shoulder as he looked back toward the others.

Humming, Marielle leaned against him and let her head rest on his shoulder.  Finally, her vibrant hues lifted to find the three shadow-like figures staring down at them.  The greeting felt awfully familiar, though her smile didn’t falter.  Briefly, she wondered if perhaps she and Gideon shared far more in common than she had originally thought.

Adrianna approached them easily, her hands outstretched to greet Nonna with a smile and traditional cheek kiss.  “Good to see you again, Nonna,” she said quietly before moving to Gideon.  The woman smiled sadly as she placed her hand on Gideon’s shoulder and leaned in to kiss his cheeks.  Her blue eyes looked to Marielle as she straightened.

“Adrianna, I’d like to introduce you to my girlfriend, Mariëlle Deniaud.”  Gideon’s fingers caressed the theorist’s back momentarily before stepping back just a hair to give the women room to acquaint themselves.

It wasn’t uncommon for her to be the smallest in any group, but her height didn’t diminish the attention she naturally captured in how she carried herself.  Her instincts had her straightening a little taller, her nose lifting slightly as she smiled warmly at Adrianna before she leaned forward to place a kiss on each of cheek.  “Bonjour.”  Her vibrant and flawless emerald hues met Adrianna’s gaze easily.

“Ciao,” Adrianna greeted in kind, stepping into the kiss with warmth and a welcoming smile.  “Welcome, Marielle.”

“Please.  Ellie,” the engineer chuckled lightly.  “It’s far less formal.”

Adrianna nodded.  “Thank you for the gifts, I’m sure the children will be entertained for hours.”

The theorist hummed in thought.  “I am more than happy to assist in that regard,” she replied with a soft lilting laugh.  It was timed with the warm ocean breeze.

The taller of the two gentleman stepped forward, his fingers clasping gently around Adrianna’s upper arm as he nodded toward Marielle.

Gideon coughed lightly, clearing his throat.  “Geovani, Mariëlle Deniaud.  El, my brother Geovani Salieri, proprietor of the Sognovite Winery.”

Marielle glanced up at the elder Salieri brother, her head leaning just slightly to one side as she considered his character.  Her expression flashed in recognition in how his lips formed a thin line, though her smile never dipped as her gaze didn’t waver from his even when her chin dipped once in recognition of him.  Her hand reached out languidly towards him, a gentle bend to her elbow and her wrist.  “A pleasure.”

Geovani reached his hand out, instead of shaking, he lifted her knuckles and gave her a quick kiss.  “Ciao, Ellie,” he greeted gruffly, his voice lacking any warmth in its delivery.  As he straightened, he released her hand but turned to motion toward the man still standing behind.  “I’d like to introduce you to my father, Giancarlo.”

Her gaze moved from Geovani to settle on the patriarch of the family.  Just as she had done with the eldest Salieri brother, the researcher said nothing as she studied him silently.  Her hand reached out towards him in the same manner that she had offered it earlier.  Though, her head had dipped in the shallowest of bows.  “A pleasure.”

Giancarlo stepped forward with a nod in Marielle’s direction before extending his hand, providing her with a kiss to the knuckles as his son had done.  “Ciao, welcome,” he grumbled dispassionately before nodded and motioning with his chin toward the villa.  “My wife is inside, come.”  He turned and began walking up the drive.  Geovani followed close behind, though Adrianna lingered.

Marielle hummed softly to herself as she watched the duo move up the drive.  She said nothing, her eyes moving to Geovani’s wife.  There was some notion of how the marriage didn’t seem entirely right, thought she was sure it was simply a prejudicial first impression.  Still, she appeared a little less than happy.  It was in how she carried herself, and the researcher had to wonder how anyone as beautiful as Adrianna would have have the slouch to her shoulders.

The woman held her hands in front of her as her eyes moved among the three of them.  “Please excuse Giancarlo, he’s been out of sorts these past months.”  Blue eyes moved to Gideon for a moment before she motioned them to follow, then turned and outstretched her hand to Nonna, taking the woman’s bag and helping her up the drive.

The physicist lingered with Gideon, her hand reaching out to his.  “I believe the blue of this ocean is the inspiration for your blue,” she hummed delightfully.  Her eyes moved up to the villa, her attention still following the men as they reached the house.  Marielle’s head turned, and her gaze moved up to meet his.  She quickly realized after meeting the Salieri men that there was much she was going to be learning in the span of twenty-four hours, and Gideon’s hesitance was suddenly far more clear than ever.  She resolved to simply remind him of better.

He turned his gaze to Marielle, a brow raised before he glanced behind them to the ocean.  “My blue?” Gideon asked before resting his hand along her shoulders once again, squeezing gently before leading them up the driveway.  He watched as she simply nodded without so much as an explanation.  “I didn’t know I had a blue,” he said quietly, chuckling softly as he reached to open the door for her.

She stepped inside, her gaze studying the interior.  Marielle smiled in appreciation of the traditional decor.  The most prominent feature in the space was a large ornately carved grandfather clock with gold detailing.  She released Gideon’s hand and immediately made her way towards the clock.  The smile on her lips grew tenfold and she bent a bit to stare into the gears.  “Fantastic,” she breathed out with awe.  “I haven’t seen something this ornate since Mister Longbottom’s store in Atlantis.”

Gideon stood at the doorway a moment longer than necessary, fingers gripping at the door frame before a familiar voice pulled him inside.  He glanced up and around, forcing a grin on his features as he watched the kids playing with their contraptions, working hard at figuring out how they functioned.

Dezara stood from her chair in the corner, her pale skin clinging tight to her frail frame as she leaned a hand against the arm of her chair for support.  The Betazoid woman blinked her dark eyes toward Marielle and watched.

The half-Betazoid approached his mother quietly, leaning in to softly greet her with a kiss on each cheek before taking her hand.  Gideon led her easily in Marielle’s direction, his expression worried as he took in the state of her health.  “Madre, I’ve brought someone for you to meet.  This is Mariëlle Deniaud, my girlfriend.”  His gaze lifted from his mother to the engineer.  “El, my mother, Dezara Stasi of the seventh House of Betazed.”

Marielle straightened as she heard Gideon’s steps, and her eyes followed him until she found him greeting the woman.  Her heels clicked on the wooden floorboards, strong and confident steps carrying her towards the pair.  Her hands came up and reaching out for Dezara.  When their hands met, the researcher leaned forward and lifted her heels to place a kiss on each cheek.  “A pleasure.”

The motions were practiced for the Betazoid woman, her only response a soft hum and a nod as her dark eyes barely met Marielle’s.  Dezara smiled, her lips remaining pursed together before she released the physicist’s fingers, turning to find her chair once again.

“You have a lovely home,” Marielle turned to stare once more at the grandfather clock before turning to look at Dezara.  She studied the woman carefully, her warm smile never once faltering.

Dezara raised her chin, nodding again as she sipped against a glass of wine.  “Thank you,” the woman managed before waving absently toward the seating arrangement in the living area.  “Sit, please.  Gideon, fetch some wine.”

Marielle looked up at Gideon and smiled with a nod.  She moved towards one of the chairs, but instead opted to sit on the floor between Matteo and Rosaria.  Her legs tucked under her dress, knees pressed together.  Her hands moved to smooth out the fabric of her skirt as she straightened, her shoulders falling back, and her chin lifting slightly.  Though, with the children, her expression remained youthful and warm.  She glanced between the two children as they turned the cranks to their wooden contraptions.  “Well.  What can you tell me about your contraptions?”

Gideon inhaled softly and made his way into the kitchen.  There he was confronted by Giancarlo and Geovani.  Blue eyes avoided their brown as he maneuvered past them to gather three glasses, setting them on the island in the middle of the kitchen before stepping into the cellar to look over the selection of wine.  “What’s for dinner?” he asked quietly, looking over at Geo.  His only answer was a chin toward the pasta on the stove, which appeared to be a simple noodle with a white cream sauce.  Gideon nodded and reached for a white wine, glad to find it opened already.  He pulled the stopper and poured three glasses, leaving the bottle on the table as he was sure they would be back for more.

Nonna stepped into the kitchen, humming softly as she glanced around at the silence.  “How long until dinner?  I’ll help.”  She simply stepped in, taking the wine glass that Gideon offered her with a grateful smile as she watched her grandson disappear with the other two.

She listened intently as Matteo tried to explain the collection of wooden gears.  Her eyes remained locked with his, and she nodded with infinite patience.  Her smile did not change, though her irises grew brighter as she listened to Rosaria speak about the mechanical workings of her wooden toy.  The researcher smiled brightly at both children.  She lifted Matteo’s wooden toy - the beautifully carved gears that moved an intricately painted man on skis followed by his faithful four-legged companion.  “This,” she started as she turned the polished crank, “is called an automaton mechanism.”  Her vibrant green hues stared at each of them.  “Do you know what that is?”  Smiling when both children shook their heads in response, Marielle simply continued to turn the crank.  “An automaton is a self-operating machine.  It is a machine that is designed to follow a predetermined sequence of operations.”

Matteo stared up at Marielle, wonder in his eyes.  “What is a, a pre- prede-”

“Predetermined sequence of operations,” helped Rosario.  She grinned brightly when Marielle nodded and smiled in approval.

Marielle turned to Matteo and smiled at the boy.  “It means that the machine is made to follow a particular order.”  She pointed to the grandfather clock.  “That clock there is one.  But, unlike your toy, the clock was made to make you think that it’s operating on its own power.”

Gideon approached quietly and lowered himself to the carpet opposite Marielle.  Once he caught her eye, he showed her the wine glass and then set it on the coffee table behind Rosaria.  “Got a couple engineers in the making, Miss Ellie?”  He smiled at the two kids before winking at Marielle.

She chuckled lightly as she leaned forward and stared at them both.  “It is never too young to think about how and why things work the way they do,” she explained.  “Your toys are prime examples of automata theory.  Those toys will teach you how to approach computational problems and discrete mathematics.  You’ll learn about formal language theory and learn about formalized logic.”

Matteo blinked at Marielle’s explanation, a bit in awe and a lot in confusion.  He leaned forward, glancing around for any adults listening before he whispered to Marielle.  “Are you from the stars, too?” he asked quietly.  Rosaria had also leaned forward.

Her eyes lifted to find Gideon staring at her fondly.  With a wry smile, she glanced at Rosaria before her eyes settled on Matteo.  “Better.  I am a star and your uncle has captured me,” Marielle whispered as she winked at the young boy.  

He gasped and clapped his hands over his mouth, looking in awe between Marielle and Gideon.  Rosaria giggled quietly and looked at Gideon.  “You didn’t say you were going to bring a star, Uncle Gideon.”

Gideon leaned forward, his hand resting on Matteo’s shoulder as he beckoned Rosaria closer again.  “She’s our secret, right?”  Both children nodded, Matteo still looking at Marielle with wonder.  He chuckled softly and ruffled Matteo’s brown hair before glancing at Rosaria.  “Show me how it works?”

The chief researcher straightened and chuckled lightly.  Her eyes settled on Matteo and the woman winked at him.  Quietly, she stood up and picked up her filled wine glass.  Her hand settled on Gideon’s shoulder, a gentle squeeze in support, before she made her way towards the kitchen.  She quietly studied the kitchen and its occupants before she made her presence known.  “How may I help Andrianna?  Ms. Bacna?”  Her heels clicked against the wooden boards and she sipped her wine as she walked deeper into space.

Gideon glanced briefly after the researcher, frowning when he looked at Rosaria in the middle of explaining.  He shifted his gaze toward Marielle with a discreet wince, wishing he could be there for her.  He remained on the floor, dedicated to listening to his niece.

The four occupants of the kitchen all glanced up at Marielle, the two men quickly returning to their conversation as they sipped wine.  Nonna smiled at the physicist as Adrianna grinned in thanks.  “Really,” she shook her head.  “It’s kind of you to offer, but not necessary.  We’re almost ready.”

“Perhaps not, but I would be remiss in my role as your guest if I could not offer my assistance,” Marielle insisted with a warm smile.  “In truth, Gideon often helps me in the kitchen.  At least allow me to return the favour to the family who raised him.”

“Lei è francese o orientale? (Is she French or Oriental?)” Geovani asked quietly, the question muddled with his wine glass.   

Giancarlo grumbled in response.  “In entrambi i casi, piatti tipici scadente. (Either way, her cooking is surely terrible.)”

Marielle’s smile remained on her features as she stared at Adrianna and Bacna and she hummed delightfully as she listened to Geovani and Giancarlo speak in Italian.  She filed away their derogatory insult away for later.  She made her way towards Nonna as she stirred the cream sauce.  She leaned over the pot.  “Gideon is amazing in the kitchen,” she chuckled.  “While most men sit back, he spends time with me and refuses to let me do all the work.  I simply couldn’t fill all the pastry orders without his help.”  Her eyes turned to Adrianna.  “We’re lucky to have such men in our lives, non?”

Adrianna flushed prettily, her blue eyes fluttering toward the men as she tsked in their direction.  She glanced back at Marielle, clearing her throat as she listened, chuckling softly as she nodded.  “You bake a lot, then?  Is that what you do?”

“Oh heavens no,” Marielle responded with a laugh.  “I bake for a hobby.”  She sipped her wine.  “I’m a researcher.  I focus on the impossible mostly.”

“Ascoltate questo arpia cercando di agire come Gideon vale nulla. (Listen to this harpy trying to say Gideon is worth anything.)”

“Andò così lontano da chiamare noi la sua famiglia. (He went so far as to call us his family.)”

“E 'un cane di non dirle è un scadente. (She’s a dog, just as he is.)”

Marielle hummed into her wine as she made no attempt to address the men in the corner table.  She simply stared at Adrianna and Bacna, her warm smile and bright eyes keeping up their appearances.  “I actually serve on the same starship as Gideon.”

“The Aldrin,” Nonna added with pride.

The chief theorist turned to Gideon’s grandmother with a smile.  “Aye.  A fine starship.”

Adrianna smiled, nodding at the revelation.  “The kids were so excited to hear about your other ships.”  She glanced toward Geo and Giancarlo, finding their gazes stone cold and staring at the women.  “Avere un po 'di cortesia per un giorno! (Have some courtesy for the day!)” she appealed to them quickly before returning her attention to Marielle.

“The universe is far too big.  One would have to be small minded to think so ill of traveling the stars,” she took a thoughtful sip of her wine.  “And Gideon is Chief of Security and Tactical on the Aldrin.  His tactical skills are par to none.”  Marielle’s eyes found Bacna.  “You have every right to be proud of him, Ms. Bacna.  Even I’m impressed, and I’m a hard one to give easy praise.”

“Una guardia carceraria glorificato, (A glorified prison guard.)” Geovani mumbled as he stood and picked up the bottle of wine on the island, sauntering over toward Marielle.  “More wine, Ellie?” he asked, his expression lightened and a forced grin on his lips.

Her eyes moved to her still filled wine glass.  She smiled sweetly at him.  “Oh.  No thank you.  It wouldn’t do to ruin a beautifully created dinner with so much wine.  Dulls the palate, non?”

Geovani poured himself a refill.  “A good wine enhances the meal.”

“Yes, it does.  A good wine does,” she hummed thoughtfully as she took a small sip.  Marielle smoothed out the fabric of her dress, seemingly at ease despite how she felt eyes on her.  She brushed the loose tendrils of her hair behind her ear.  “What is for dinner?” she asked Adrianna.

Gideon stepped into the kitchen, his hand in his pocket as he paused just over the threshold, taking in the scene in silence.  His eyes lingered on Geovani and Giancarlo as they stared at Marielle.  ‘Oh, merde,’ he thought as he sipped from his wine glass.

As Adrianna went over the meal with Marielle, Geovani looked toward the researcher and shook his head.  “When you own a vineyard, you enjoy wine whenever you please,” he stated before retaking his seat at the table in the corner of the kitchen, leaning back against the wall.

   
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