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[JL Deniaud/Salieri] Roots & Branches: The Baker

USS Aldrin Lounge


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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Stardate: 1701.26
Roots & Branches: The Baker

“The best Makapa bread this side of the quadrant is waiting,” he taunted casually.  Gideon stood against the door jamb, his arms folded as he grinned toward the bathroom.  In reality, they had plenty of time.  Cardin Deron had already set aside the whole morning to spend with them, bringing in a friend to help run his shop while they got acquainted in the kitchen.  He hummed softly as he straightened and turned toward the stairwell.

She leaned forward, her chin tilted towards the side as she toyed with the curled tendril of hair that framed her face.  Marielle nodded once to her reflection in the mirror before she turned to stare at the Betazoid mix.  “And it’ll continue waiting until I feel like I look presentable.”  The researcher made her way towards Gideon, her black stiletto heels clicking softly against the hardwood floor.  She opted for the button down tunic-style dress that reached just above her knees, black embroidery flowers standing out against the cream fabric.  A sash around her waist gave a hint at her curves.  She adjusted the sleeves that reached to her elbows as she stood in front of her boyfriend.

The security chief glanced back over his shoulder, smiling warmly at the theorist before chuckling as he shook his head.  “You’re always present-” a thought stopped the statement from being completed and Gideon winked wryly at her.  “You’re beautiful.”  He leaned down and kissed her forehead before offering his elbow to lead her down the stairs.

Giggling, Marielle followed the security chief down the stairs and to the bakery next door.  She told herself that the quick visit when they had first arrived didn’t count.  She had no idea that Cardin was Gideon’s father.  “Does he know who I am?” she asked softly.  “I mean, aside from the quick introduction our first day here.”

“Yes, I’ve told him about you.”  He hummed softly as they met Nonna in the entryway, grinning at the elder Bajoran woman.  Gideon gave his grandmother a quick one armed hug before herding the women toward the door.

“I feel like I should be worried about what you tell people about me,” Marielle grumbled under her breath.  Her steps were quick as the security officer ushered her towards the bakery.  It was a bit cute actually - seeing Gideon so excited.

It was a short walk to the town center and Gideon held his head high as he walked, glad to have a woman on each arm as he nodded to anyone passing by.  They walked through the square, past the gazebo and toward Nonna’s wine shop.  Instead of stopping inside the rustic storefront, they moved past where Gideon reached to open the door, bowing slightly at the waist as he waived Nonna and Marielle past.

Marielle entered after Bacna and she took in an appreciative inhalation.  “I swear there’s nothing like the aroma of freshly baked pastries and bread,” she muttered to herself.

Nonna giggled softly as she clapped her hands together.  “Cardin!”  The elder Bajoran was dressed in a simple red tunic top with geometric beadwork and tan leggings.  Her white hair was pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of her neck, accenting her ridges and the earring on her right ear.

Chuckling, Marielle leaned towards Bacna.  “You know.  I just realized that I know some lovely men in Starfleet who wouldn’t mind dating a woman like you.”  The diminutive woman gave the elder Bajoran a cheeky grin.

“Hmm?” the elder glanced toward Marielle with a raised brow.  Bacna gasped quietly as her eyes twinkled with mirth.  “Are you trying to play matchmaker, missy?”  The grandmother hummed again and winked.  “They’d know where to find me.”

Gideon stepped inside, inhaling gently of the smells within the bakery.  He glanced around as he waited for Cardin to appear, not wanting to just barge into the back.  He walked up toward Marielle and Nonna, his hand resting gently on Marielle’s shoulder before caressing to her back.

She giggled softly.  “No harm in playing matchmaker every so often, yeah?”  

The man appeared from behind the curtain, tall and very much built like a baker - strong in arm and chest, but with a little pudge around the midsection.  Had he fewer grey hairs, Cardin Deron would be Gideon reincarnate.  He smiled widely at the visitors to his shop, raising his arms first to greet Bacna with a warm hug.  His sapphire gaze found Gideon next, embracing the Starfleet officer with a hug.  Finally, he looked upon Marielle, the warmth having yet to fade from his expression.  “And you must be the baker,” he greeted with a wink before pulling the researcher into a gentle hug.

“Yes Cardin.  I’d like you to meet Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud, Chief of Research on the USS Aldrin.”  Gideon announced with a proud smile.

Laughing, she hugged Cardin easily.  “Why do you believe I’m the baker?”

Chortling softly, Deron rubbed her upper arm before motioning toward the back of the shop.  “My son tells me as much,” Cardin winked toward Gideon and waved Nonna to follow.  “Come, come.  Moba stuffed pastries and Kava juice in the back.”

Chuckling, the physicist moved with the group.  She settled on the seat by the large wooden slab that took up the back kitchen.  “Oh?” she asked with a wry grin.  “What else has Gideon been telling you?”  Her vibrant green hues settled on the security chief.  “Good things, I hope.”

“Only the best things, of course.”  Cardin chuckled softly as he poured glasses for everyone, offering the table to sit.  “Shay will be down soon.  She’s excited to meet you as well, Marielle.”

Gideon smiled at the researcher, winking at her before pulling a chair out for her.  He did the same for Nonna before settling into a chair himself.  “How has it been around town, Cardin?”

She sipped her juice while she looked around the kitchen.  “We should bake.”  Marielle giggled lightly as Bacna and Gideon looked at her strangely.  Marielle slipped off the chair and made her way to the apron that hung on a hook by a wall.

Deron laughed heartily, humming as he placed a hand over his heart.  “I’ve been baking since before dawn, my dear.  You’re welcome to the kitchen, though.”

“You rest, Mister Cardin,” she waved her hand in his direction.  Marielle’s attention was on her work as she began to familiarize herself with his kitchen.  “I haven’t had a chance to bake since we arrived on Earth.  I must thank you for the opportunity to do so.”

A young Bajoran woman stepped into the back of the shop, her bright blue eyes searching quickly before she rushed to hug Nonna around the shoulders, then squealed in delight upon seeing Gideon, throwing a hug around his shoulders as well.

Marielle chuckled lightly as she watched the younger woman give Gideon a hug.  She began to gather her ingredients, easily pulling flour, sugar, eggs, and butter.

“Shay, Marielle.”  Gideon nodded toward the diminutive woman with a smile.  “El, my sister Shay.”  He grasped her fingers before Shayei waved toward Marielle.

“Heavens.  Such pretty eyes.”  Marielle glanced between Shayei and Cardin.  Her gaze settled on Gideon, her smile growing warmer.  Although the kitchen was foreign to her, she moved as if it was her own.  Sugar, eggs, and salt were mixed into one bowl.  Smiling, she grabbed the small bottle of orange blossom water and tossed it into the mixture.

Gideon stood up and moved toward Marielle, standing behind her with his arms held behind his back.  “Would you like help?” he asked quietly.

Marielle looked up at him, smiling warmly.  “If you could find cookie molds of some sort,” she replied softly.  “I’m not making anything special.  Just madeleines.”  She lifted her heels off the ground and gently kissed Gideon on the cheek.

Deron leaned against the counter, his arms folded over his chest as he watched Marielle.  “I heard you met the Salieris last night.”  The baker’s lips turned in a smirk and his brows raised as he waited to hear the story.

Nonna hummed softly as she took a bite of the pastries offered from the middle of the table, her eyes twinkling with mirth as she watched Marielle.  “This one has some spunk in her,” Bacna murmured with a giggle.

“Ah,” she blushed slightly.  “I’m afraid my sass can cause more trouble than good.”  She slowly added flour into her mixture, vibrant green hues watching the consistency carefully.  When the batter looked just right, she moved to the fridge and placed the bowl inside to cool.

Gideon glanced toward Deron, who motioned with his chin toward a drawer just behind him.  The security officer turned and pulled the drawer open, looking through the available items in the drawer before pulling out a silicon half-sheet of button molds, holding it up with a soft hum for Marielle’s approval.

Marielle turned towards Gideon and nodded in approval to the molds.  She turned to the oven and set the temperature before looking in the pantry.  “Though, I will continue to argue that one shouldn’t attempt to insult another person without being one hundred percent sure that she can’t speak the language in which you’re insulting her.”

The half-Betazoid set the mold on the counter, huffing softly as he winked at Marielle.  “To be fair, you played innocent with me all this time.”  Gideon wrinkled his nose and playfully stuck his tongue out at her.

She laughed as she grabbed the large bar of baking chocolate.  “I wanted you to have something that was your own,” Marielle revealed with a warm smile.  “What fun would it have been if you couldn’t utter things freely?”

Shay giggled quietly as she looked between the two of them.  “How much funny stuff did he say thinking you didn’t understand?”  The teenager sipped from her glass of juice.

“I’d have switched to Bajoran or Betazoid.  I know you don’t know them- yet.”  Gideon winked to emphasize the last word he spoke, knowing that he wouldn’t bother to try speaking them because that would just goad her into learning them sooner rather than later.

“Yet.”  Marielle giggled as she repeated the word.  The theorist turned to Shayei.  “Well.  Once, he completely goofed in trying to compliment me.  I called him on it,” she grinned at the memory.  “Gideon kept tripping over his words, and he just descended into attempting to woo me in Italian.”  She leaned forward, her elbow resting on the wooden surface, as she looked Shayei in the eyes.  “Your brother was very smooth until he met me.  Then he actually had to work for it.”  Giggling, Marielle straightened and went about chopping chocolate.

The tips of his ears turned red and Gideon nodded in admittance.  He glanced toward Cardin, grinning at the man’s look of pride.

Deron chortled softly, raising his glass toward his son.  “Took after his old man, I see.  Without the stutter, though.”  The baker raised a brow in Gideon’s direction, then smiled when Nonna slapped him gently on the arm.

She placed the chocolate into a double boiler and began to lightly whip the chocolate as it melted.  “Oh.  He stuttered,” she chuckled lightly.  “I was the one who dragged him out on a date.”  Marielle made a show of sighing as she shook her head.  “Couldn’t even ask me out.”  The researcher made her way to the fridge, pulling out the batter that she had placed in the cold earlier.

Gideon folded his arms over his chest, hmphing softly as he leaned against the counter, mirroring Cardin’s posture without even attempting it.  “I was going to,” he muttered softly in defense.

“Mmmm,” she hummed delightfully as she giggled.  “I’m sure.”  It was clear in her tone that Marielle didn’t believe him.  Slowly, she poured the batter in each mold.

“The tiramisu!” he held his hands out as he gesticulated.  “I-”

“I asked you then too.”  Marielle laughed brightly, her lilting laugh warm and filled with joy.  It filled the large kitchen.  She moved to the oven, sliding the filled molds onto the racks.

Gideon threw his hands up, shaking his head.  “Fine, I failed at dating.”  He glanced toward Shay, a stern finger shaken in her direction.  “Which is highly discouraged in the Academy.  And if you mention my name, don’t listen to anything they tell you.”

Shayei’s eyes lit up as she glanced from Gideon to Marielle, then to her father and back to Gideon.  “Why’s that?” she asked curiously.

“Your brother was silly and young,” Marielle answered for Gideon.

He motioned toward Marielle, nodding in agreement.  “Made some pretty poor choices.”  Gideon furrowed his brows.  “Had a science officer fresh out of the Academy that had heard about it, so I know rumors are still floating around.”  

“But, it’s not about the mistakes, Gideon,” she reminded him gently, vibrant hues meeting the depths of his blue.  “It’s about how you’ve grown out of it.”  Her attention returned to Shayei.  “Just remember that if you hear anything, um, unsavory about your brother.”

Cardin raised a brow, his gaze finding Gideon.  “Should I be worried about Shay going into Starfleet, following your footsteps?”

“She’s making her own footsteps, Dad,” Gideon shrugged with a smile toward his half-sister, winking in encouragement.

Marielle chuckled.  “If nothing else, she can drop my name.”  She lifted the chocolate covered whisk, watching as the thread of chocolate dribbled back into the bowl.

The teenager glanced toward Marielle, her eyes rapt as her attention focused on the physicist.  “What’s your name do?”  Shay had gleaned from the conversation that Gideon had a bad reputation, she could only imagine Marielle’s must be good.

She made her way to the oven, watching the timer with her hand on the oven door.  When it dinged, the oven door was pulled open and she pulled out the tray with a gloved hand.  “Inspire fear,” she giggled lightly as she closed the oven door and made her way to the large table in the center of the kitchen.  The aroma of orange and sugar filled the space, and she hummed with delight.  “I’m kidding.  Somewhat,” she removed the glove and placed it on the table as she looked at Shayei.  “When I was younger, I was a bit of a wild child.  I was the queen of pranks, and no one dared make me angry.”  She winced slightly.  “My mouth tends to run away with me.”

“As the Salieris found out last night,” Nonna hummed softly.  She glanced toward Deron.  “You’d have been so proud.  Gideon held back until Geovani pushed him into Marielle.  Like a knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress.”  Bacna glanced toward Marielle with an appreciative glance.  “Though Ellie is by no means a damsel in distress.”  The elder Bajoran winked.

Laughing slightly, Marielle began popping the baked soft cookies from the molds.  Her eyes lifted to meet Cardin’s.  “I don’t know if you know, but your son is a rare find in this universe.”  She glanced at the small pile of madeleine cookies and began dipping each one so it was half-covered in chocolate before resting the soft cookie on the drying rack.

Deron had a sad smile on his lips as he nodded toward Gideon.  “I’m still learning about him, but I believe it.”  The baker reached his arm up, beckoning the security officer over and wrapping his arm over his son’s shoulder, fingers clasping his arm in pride.

“Gideon is heroic and brilliant in what he does,” Marielle explained without lifting her eyes to stare at the other occupants in the kitchen.  “He’s kind and sweet.  Patient.  He’s an excellent teacher.  He’s surrounded by people.  Good people.”  She continued dipping the soft cookies in the dark chocolate, watching as the ribbon dribbled into the bowl before she twisted and placed the cookie on the rack to dry.  “People depend on him, and they trust him.”  Finally, her eyes lifted to meet Gideon’s.  She offered him a small and shy smile.  “That’s who your son is.”

Deron leaned down, whispering quietly in Gideon’s ear.  “She’s a keeper.”  He clapped the security officer on the shoulder as he straightened, smiling warmly at Marielle.  “That’s very generous of you, and I believe every word.”  Cardin winked at the researcher.  “Can’t imagine you had anything to do with it.”

Marielle lifted several madeleine cookies, offering it to Shayei and Nonna before Gideon and Cardin.  She laughed.  “I don’t know why people keep saying that.  Gideon is just Gideon,” she shook her head.

“Probablement parce que c'est vrai, (Probably because it’s true.)” Gideon said with a wink as he took a madeleine and popped it into his mouth.

She rolled her eyes at him.  “Ne soyez pas ridicule (Don’t be ridiculous),” Marielle waved a finger at Gideon’s direction.  “Je n’ai rien fait.  Tu allais toujours devenir la personne que tu devais être.  (I didn’t do a thing.  You were always going to become the person you are now.)”

“What language is that now?!” Cardin laughed as he took one of the cookies, leaning forward to kiss Marielle on the cheek.  “Thank you for the cookies, Marielle.  You are a Gods-send.”

She blushed.  “Ellie,” she muttered.  “Just call me Ellie.”  She smiled at Cardin.  “And thanks for letting me bake.  I needed it after last night.”

Cardin hummed softly as he enjoyed the cookie, his features locked in concentration as he dissected the contents of the madeleine with his taste buds.  “These are miraculous, Ellie.  The chocolate and the orange, perfect.”  He reached for another.  “My kitchen is yours, anytime,” Deron proclaimed.

Giggling, Marielle began cleaning up after herself.  “At this rate, I’ll have every kitchen in the Federation.”

“Tut, tut,” Nonna stood up and grasped Marielle by the shoulders, pulling her away from the counter and directing her to sit down.  “Have a Moba bun.”  The elder Bajoran waved at Gideon and Cardin who went to work cleaning up.

   
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